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Protecting Somerset from floods: Giant pumps tested

Giant pumps tested to help protect Somerset from flooding Credit: ITV News

The Environment Agency has been testing giant pumps designed to help reduce the risk of a repeat of last year's flooding on the Somerset Levels.

The pumps will be on permanent standby at Dunball, ready to suck more than a million tons of water day out of the King's Sedgemoor Drain.

Somerset road will remain closed until August

Work on the road at Beer Wall Credit: ITV News

People in Somerset cut off by flood relief work have had an apology from the county council - because the job will take an extra three weeks.

The A372 at Beer Wall near Othery was shut by floods and pumping work for months last year.

It's been closed since the beginning of April so culverts could be installed, and it's not due to open until some time in August.


Rescue boat used during Somerset floods gets new home

The villagers have decided to loan their rescue boat permanently to BARB Search & Rescue. Credit: ITV News

A rescue boat which was a lifeline for stranded villagers during last year's floods in Somerset is being given a new home this morning.

Rescue boats were a lifeline for Muchelney residents during the floods. Credit: ITV News

It was bought after the village of Muchelney was cut off by the water, but now the road has been raised to prevent it being flooded again. The villagers have decided to loan it permanently to Burnham Area Rescue Boat (BARB) Search & Rescue in Burnham-on-Sea, which was first on the scene during the crisis.

The road to Muchelney was cut off during the floods, and the only way in or out was by boat. Credit: ITV News

£1.5 million project to improve flood defences completed

A £1.5 million project to improve flood defences on the Somerset Levels has been completed. Credit: Environment Agency

A £1.5 million project to improve flood defences on the Somerset Levels has been completed.

The purpose-built platform at Dunball Sluice, near Bridgwater, means flood water can be quickly pumped away. It also means flows in the Rivers Sowy, Parrett Tone and King's Sedgemoor Drain can be managed more efficiently.

A temporary platform was constructed at Dunball during the winter of 2013/14, which saw large parts of the Levels under water after storms. At its height more than 90 million tonnes of water covered an estimated 122 square kilometres.

The workis part of a £12 million programme of repair and enhancement of flood defence works across Somerset.

Somerset flooding volunteers fall out with council

Volunteers say they have been locked out of a warehouse full of donated items Credit: ITV News

Volunteers helping flood victims across Somerset over the past year have fallen out with the County Council over who should have control of public donations.

Emergency volunteers say they have been locked out of a warehouse full of furniture, cookers and domestic appliances, waiting for residents who are still homeless.

But Somerset County Council claim the friction is a simple misunderstanding, stemming from new lease terms.

Flooding victim Sally Vize believes the volunteers are better equipped to help at the warehouse than the council.

Anti-flooding action plan in Somerset reaches second stage

Work is beginning on phase two of the action plan to try to prevent another flood on the scale of last year's crisis on the Somerset Levels.

After a £6 million dredging project, attention is turning to managing the land further upstream. The plans are to slow the flow of water into the river system by digging ponds and planting trees.

We always knew that we'd be working to more of a medium to long term solution which would be the management of the land so tackling some of the problem at the source rather than the symptoms, if you like, of the water.

– Ben Thorne, Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group
Plans are being implement to slow the flow of water into the Levels


A372 in Somerset re-opens after flood protection works

The Somerset Levels were badly flooded last winter. Credit: ITV News

A main road in Somerset which has been closed for 11 weeks for flood protection works re-opens this morning.

The A372 at Beer Wall was flooded for several weeks last winter. Somerset County Council is confident the works will keep the road open if there is a repeat of those conditions.

There are more works to come next spring, when four new culverts will be installed as part of the 20 Year Flood Action Plan.

Government promises £15.5m for flood defences

More than £4 million will go to flood prevention on the Somerset Levels & Moors Credit: PA

The Government will spend £15.5 million on flood defences in Somerset over the next six years.

More than £4 million (4.2) will be spent on the Somerset Levels and moors.

7,000 properties are expected to benefit from the money - which is part of at least £35 million committed to Somerset over the next eight years.

Fire crews show why we shouldn't drive through floods

Cornwall Fire & Rescue Service re-enacts some of the worst consequences of driving through flood water Credit: ITV News

A campaign has begun urging motorists not to risk their lives by driving through flood water.

It's called 'Turn Around, Don't Drown' and is run by Cornwall Fire & Rescue Service.

Crews have been demonstrating the dangers involved in driving through water that's too deep.

Fire crews demonstrate the efforts involved in rescuing motorists from deep water Credit: ITV News

As you'd expect over the last two years with the extreme weather we've had, we've had very nearly a hundred rescues from vehicles in the water each year.

Most of them happen in the hours of darkness and a lot of them are caused just by the ignorance of the power of moving water.

– ANDY REYNOLDS Cornwall Fire & Rescue Service

You can see footage of Cornwall Fire Service re-enactment of a water rescue below:

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