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EA considering increasing security after fuel thieves strike again

Dredging on the Somerset levels had to stop for a time today because fuel thieves have targeted the site for a second time.

Diesel has been stolen from 5 machines being used on the banks of the Rivers Parrett and Tone. The Environment Agency is now considering bringing in additional security. Francesca Carpenter reports.

West Country (E)

Dredging begins again after power cable accident

A dredger left idle at Riverside near Burrowbridge Credit: ITV News West Country

Dredging on one part of the Somerset levels has just started again after being put on hold when a digger hit an overhead power cable.

It happened on Saturday at Riverside near Burrowbridge. No one was hurt.

The Environment Agency says dredging was stopped while it reviewed working methods.

Other teams working on the Rivers Parrett and Tone were not affected.

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Environment Secretary says dredging WILL be done on time

The Environment Secretary Owen Paterson pledged today that the dredging of two important rivers on the Somerset Levels WOULD be completed by October, as promised.

That's despite the fact that only 10%t of the work has been completed in the seven weeks so far. The Environment Agency says it's preparing to bring in four more dredging teams to help get the job done. Bob Constantine reports.

West Country (E)

Paterson promises dredging WILL finish on schedule

Environment Secretary Owen Paterson meeting members of the Environment Agency and other organisations on the Somerset Levels Credit: ITV News West Country

Environment Secretary Owen Paterson has been to see dredging work being carried out on the Somerset Levels today following concerns that the work had got off to a slow start.

The Environment Agency is dredging five miles of the rivers Tone and Parrett to make the water flow more easily and hopefully prevent a repeat of last winter's floods.

The number of dredgers is due to increase in the next few weeks Credit: ITV News West Country

Mr Paterson said that, although only 10% of the work had been completed so far, it would be finished on schedule by the end of October and the number of dredgers would be increased from two to six in the coming weeks.

Environment Secretary will be in Somerset today

Environment Secretary will be in Somerset today Credit: ITV News West Country

Environment Secretary Owen Paterson will be meeting with the Environment Agency in Somerset today. He'll be discussing the progress of new flood defence work on the Levels after it was revealed only 5% of dredging had been completed.

They say they're confident it will be completed on time.

West Country (E)

Environment Minister claims dredging still on track

On day one of the Bath and West Show the impact of the exceptionally wet winter on the farming community has been a major talking point.

The Floods Minister Dan Rogerson has responded to criticism that the dredging operation to clear the River Parrett is running behind schedule, and this afternoon the Duchess of Cornwall met with Somerset flooding victims to hear how they're recovering. Bob Cruwys reports

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West Country (E)

Environment Agency statement on dredging

The Environment Agency has issued an update on the current dredging situation, after it was revealed that the works on the Somerset Levels are well behind schedule.

We continue to dredge downstream on both sides of the River Parrett. We have so far removed about 13,050m³ of silt over a 445 metre length. Land and Water Services continue to work long days from Monday to Friday and we are looking at the possibility of some weekend working as a further contingency.

We held flood surgeries in North Newton and Kingsbury Episcopi for those residents living in the Northmoor, Chadmead, Thorney and Newton areas. You will have seen us cutting the grass and vegetation around the river to prepare for dredging.

We will start dredging with a long arm excavator on the River Tone this week. We will start on the left bank between Cuts Road and Creeds Farm. Dredging will continue downstream of Moorland House Farm on both banks of the River Parrett.

Over the next couple of weeks:

Dredging will continue downstream of Moorland House Farm on both banks of the River Parrett. We will have to work around a section of mature trees to minimise potential damage.

We will be moving into our main compound at Gillards in Burrowbridge.

We will be preparing to start work on the River Tone by the end of May.

We are confident that the work will be completed in the time-frame originally outlined barring any adverse weather. The health and safety of the people doing the work is of paramount importance to us and there welfare and wellbeing must always be taken into consideration.

– Environment Agency spokesperson

Campaigners fight Falmouth dredging plan

Opponents to the dredging plan are meeting tonight Credit: ITV Westcountry

People fighting a plan to dredge a deep water channel in Falmouth Harbour are meeting in the town tonight. They claim it'll damage fishing grounds and the marine environment.

But business leaders say it's needed to bring in larger vessels and expand the port. A trial dredge has been carried out to check the effect on rare seaweed.

Falmouth dredging trial begins

A trial dredge off Falmouth has begun today to see if a controversial deep water channel can be opened up to the port. The £200,000 trial will measure the potential impact on rare marine life and the fishing grounds.

Opponents fear dredging will cause damage to the environment, but supporters say it's vital for the future expansion of the port.

Our Cornwall correspondent Steve Hardy reports:

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