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'We can make a difference' say Dartmoor search and rescue

Dartmoor Search and Rescue teams are helping some of the victims of flooding in York. Credit: ITV News

Dartmoor Search and Rescue teams are helping some of the victims of flooding in York.

49 people have travelled up to Yorkshire, including swift water rescue technicians and water incident search managers.

The teams have also taken a boat and eight 4x4 vehicles with them. Alec Collyer from Dartmoor Rescue Group says it's about a making a difference.


Rescue teams from Exmoor, Cornwall and Dartmoor assist in flood rescue

Water levels were so high in Hebden Bridge they reached a cash machine at this Co-op Credit: PA

Rescue teams from Exmoor, Cornwall and Dartmoor prepare to head north to help in the rescue operation in the north of England after "unprecedented" levels of flooding.

Hundreds have been forced from their homes with York one of the worst hit areas with two dozen severe flood warnings, meaning there is a danger to life.

Rising waters continue to overwhelm flood defences in Lancashire and Greater Manchester where a month's worth of rainfall fell in a day leaving thousands of homes were left without power.

A woman is waist deep in water in Calderdale, West Yorkshire Credit: ITV News

Flood defences take shape in Somerset

Major works to help reduce flooding on the Somerset Levels are continuing Credit: Somerset County Council

Major works to help reduce flooding on the Somerset Levels are continuing to progress with four huge concrete culverts now in place.

The culverts, which are part of the second phase of works at Beer Wall, each measure an impressive 2 metres tall by 3 metres wide and will allow any future flood water to pass under the A372.

Major works to help reduce flooding on the Somerset Levels are continuing Credit: Somerset County Council

A stretch of the A372 was closed for several weeks in 2014 due to flooding and then to accommodate emergency pumping.

The Beer Wall being built Credit: Somerset County Council

The Beer Wall scheme being built is part of the multi-agency 20 Year Flood Action Plan which is now being overseen by the Somerset Rivers Authority.

This is an important scheme to reduce the risk of future flooding and prevent the widespread disruption we witnessed back in 2014. I’m pleased to see it taking shape and know that a huge amount of work has been done already.

We are of course disappointed that the completion date has changed but it is important that we get this project right first time. As we have said from the start, with a complex design and build scheme of this nature unfortunately we can never be completely sure how long work will take, even once work is underway.

We apologise for the inconvenience for motorists and local communities keen to see this route reopened, but hope people understand how important this scheme is. Please be assured that we will be doing everything we can to complete this work as soon as possible.

As well as keeping the A372 open, the three-stage Beer Wall scheme is designed to reduce flood risk in the Sowy and Kings Sedgemoor Drain river systems.

– Cllr John Osman, Chairman of the Somerset Rivers Authority and Leader of Somerset County Council

Somerset's new community flood support boat needs a name - can you help?

Somerset's new community flood support boat needs a name - can you help? Credit: Somerset County Council

People in Somerset are being asked to come up with a name for the county's new community flood support boat.

A similar vessel was a lifeline during last year's floods and, when it's not involved in rescues, it will be used by disabled people.

The winner will get a chance to steer the boat themselves.

People have until noon on Thursday 23 April to submit names to Somerset County Council, which will then be shortlisted for public vote.

I think we can all agree that ‘community flood support boat’ is not a very catchy name! That’s why we’re appealing for your help in finding a new one.

Let’s not forget what this boat represents. A similar vessel provided a lifeline to residents who had no other way of reaching their homes during the terrible floods of 2014. It transported everyone from schoolchildren and commuters to His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales.

When it’s not being used as a rescue boat, this Wheelyboat is fully adapted for wheelchair use and will be used to help disabled people access the water.

This is a boat for the community of Somerset, so it’s only right that the community gets to choose its name.

So whether you’re a pupil at school, a local resident who was affected by the floods or just a member of the public with a really good idea, please get in touch and let us know what you think it should be called.

– Paula Hewitt, Somerset County Council’s Director and Lead Commissioner for Economic and Community Infrastructure


Raised road to Muchelney opens tomorrow

The road to Muchelney disappeared during last year's floods Credit: ITV News

Final preparations are being made for the official opening of the newly raised road into Muchelney.

The road became an iconic image of the flooding on the Somerset Levels last winter - and the village of Muchelney was cut off.

The road is one of several projects to prevent future flooding on the Somerset Levels - including dredging eight kilometres of the rivers Parrett and Tone.

Flooding on the Somerset Levels a year on

Flooding on the Somerset Levels a year ago Credit: ITV News

This weekend marks a year since a "major incident" was declared on the Somerset Levels.

The worst floods ever seen there prompted huge support for local residents, some of whom have still not returned to normal life. But this winter many of them are looking forward with new confidence.

You look at it now and you can see that the river's flowing quite nicely. There's a big capacity there and I feel really happy to be living where we live.

– REBECCA HORSINGTON, Flooding on the Levels Action Group

Calls to end building on the floodplain

Flooding on the Somerset Levels last February Credit: PA

Insurers have warned flood defence spending must rise to a £1 billion a year over the next decade to prevent scenes like those which devastated Somerset last winter.

The Association of British Insurers is also calling for an end to building new homes in flood-risk areas.

It says some 20,000 new properties are being built on the floodplain each year, including 4,000 in places where there is significant risk of flooding.

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