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  1. National

Govt commits to protecting 42,000 homes from floods

In an emergency statement to the Commons, Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said new government provisions will help protect more than 42,000 households in 2014/2015.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles leaves a Cobra meeting at the Cabinet Office in London Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

"We've already put in place investment plans to improve the protection of at least 465,000 houses by the end of the decade. Together with other projects under construction in 2014/15, we will protect more than 42,00 households," said Pickles.

"The measures the coalition has announced today provide a clear commitment to reduce the risk of flooding and coastal erosion. The additional funding means this government will be investing more than £3.1 billion compared to £2.7bn in the previous 5 years under the last Labour government," he added.

  1. National

Govt pledges to defend 'town and country' from floods

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles Credit: PA Wire

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles, who has taken charge of the government's response to flooding, has pledged to "defend both town and country" from the devastating effects of flooding on communities.

"Looking further forward we have made an unprecedented long term commitment of six years of capital investment in improving defences," said Pickles.

The government will carry out a rapid review of the additional work needed to restore flood defences and maintain them in target condition, Pickles explained, adding that 42 new flood defence schemes have been launched.

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  1. West Country (E)

Somerset farmer decides to evacuate

James Winslade looks out at his flooded farm Credit: ITV News West Country

Last night's heavy rain and winds have been the last straw for one farmer on the Somerset Levels. James Winslade's farm near Moorland is almost totally waterlogged and, as levels rose again, he's finally made the decision to evacuate.

He now has the huge task of moving his cattle and young family out. His family have been at West Yeo Farm for a hundred and fifty years and he says, until last year, it had never been as bad as this. .

Meanwhile villagers are calling for urgent assistance from the army in their battle against the flooding

Last night's heavy rain forced a decision to evacuate Credit: ITV News West Country
  1. West Country (E)

Environment Agency faces difficult choices

There has been strong reaction to an article today by the chairman of the Environment Agency, Lord Smith, saying that difficult decisions about spending on flood defences will mean choosing between "front rooms or farmland".

Our Political Correspondent Bob Constantine says this sort of comment is not likely to go down well with people under water on the Somerset Levels. A question he posed to Pete Fox, an Environment Agency spokesman

  1. West Country (E)

Cameron calls for end to 41p a minute floods helpline

David Cameron wants an end to 41p a minute flood helplines Credit: PA/PA Wire/Press Association Images

The Prime Minister wants the use of premium rate telephone helplines for flooding victims to be ended. Householders calling the 0845 number, which was set up by the Environment Agency, are having to pay up to 41p a minute, with the money going to a private firm.

Speaking to reporters at a Westminster media briefing, Mr Cameron's official spokesman said the premium-rate helpline number would not be scrapped immediately, and victims of flooding should continue to use it.

But he said: "The Prime Minister is very clear that the use of premium rate lines should be scrapped as quickly as it possibly can be."

  1. West Country (E)

Call for Prime Minister to see flooding for himself

Two severe flood warnings, meaning there is a danger to life, are still in place across the region tonight. More rain is expected over the next few days.

And as communities in Somerset enter their sixth week of flooding, they're calling on the Prime Minister to come and see the devastation for himself.

Eli-Louise Wringe reports.

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  1. Martha Fairlie - ITV News reporter
  2. National

Crowds turn out to watch River Parrett break banks

Extra sandbags have been put in place on the River Parrett in Burrowbridge over the last 24 hours, but the water level looked perilously close to overflowing this morning.

Large crowds had gathered - a combination of local residents and the media - to watch as a few leaks turned into a torrent of water that is now pouring down the road.

Residents fear it could make some of the roads impassable and that some of their houses may get cut off.

  1. Central

Staffordshire comes to aid of Somerset flooding victims

Two amphibious vehicles are being driven down to Somerset today from Alrewas in Staffordshire to help victims of flooding on the Somerset Levels.

I have been working with Staffordshire Civil Contingencies Unit for some years on the re-utilisation of equipment like this, and for exactly this kind of emergency.

I'm really pleased to see that Staffordshire's highly detailed preparations for all emergency situations will now be used to help the people of Somerset who so desperately need this type of support.

– James Leavesley, Group Director
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