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West Country (E)

Two miles of dredging completed on Somerset Levels

The Environment Agency says it's now completed dredging along more than two miles of river on the Somerset Levels.

Silt is being scooped out from the River Parrett near Moorland and the River Tone near Burrow Mump. The work is due to continue until October.

It's hoped the dredging will improve drainage and help avoid a repeat of last winter's devastating floods.

We continue to work on the River Parrett between Westonzoyland Pumping Station and Raymonds Farm, and further upstream between Home Farm and Fenners Cottage along Riverside in Burrowbridge.

On the opposite bank of the River Parrett we are working between Millbrook Farm and Coates Farm.

On the Tone we continue to dredge between Stanmoor Bridge and Brooks Farm with 2 excavators and waterbased floating plant. Altogether we have 7 gangs working.

We have dredged a length of 3.5 km of river (7 km of total river bank length) on the Parrett and Tone. We’ve removed approximately 73,000m³ of silt and remain on programme to complete work by the end of October.

– Paul Gainey, Environment Agency

Somerset MP 'disappointed' in new Environment Secretary's failure to visit local farmers

Wells MP Tessa Munt
Wells MP Tessa Munt Credit: John Stillwell/PA

A Somerset MP who says she wrote to the new Environment Secretary inviting her to meet local farmers, says she's disappointed that she failed to do so.

Wells MP Tessa Munt has criticised Liz Truss for failing to take the opportunity to meet with a group of local farmers and landowners from the Axe and Brue catchment areas during her visit to the Somerset Levels yesterday.

I know local people will be disappointed that she was unwilling to meet with them. I have the means to contact 1,100 affected smallholders, tenants and farmers with land abutting the Axe and Brue Rivers at short notice, and although they have missed out this time, I will write to Liz Truss again, asking that she meet those affected in my area so she understands these problems are not limited to the Parrett and the Tone.

– Tessa Munt MP

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New Environment Secretary says badgers won't be gassed

The new Environment Secretary has told ITV News that badgers won't be gassed as part of the badger cull. Liz Truss was speaking on a visit to Somerset, just ten days after taking over from Owen Paterson in the cabinet reshuffle.

Her comments came as she toured dredging work in Burrowbridge as part of the plan to prevent a repeat of the devastating floods on the Somerset Levels.

Liz Truss says no to gassing badgers

Government says no to badger gassing
Government says no to badger gassing Credit: Ben Birchall/PA

The new Environment Secretary Liz Truss has told ITV West Country that the Government has ruled out gassing badgers.

Her pledge came as she visited the Somerset Levels for the first time to see the dredging operation. She said that the dredging will be completed on time.

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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.

Plans announced to tackle future flooding on the Somerset Levels

Plans to raise the road into Muchelney Credit: ITV West Country

Villagers on the Somerset Levels, who were cut off in the winter floods, will be able to see plans to solve the problem today. Somerset County Council wants to raise the road into Muchelney by two feet to maintain access.

A drop-in session is taking place at the village church this afternoon. It comes as the Prince of Wales, who used the emergency boat service back in February, is due to return to Mulchelney next week.

West Country (E)

Just a quarter of Farming Recovery Fund has been applied for

Only a quarter of the Government's Farming recovery Fund has been applied for

Just a quarter of the Government's £10 million Farming Recovery Fund has been applied for, as the deadline for applications approaches.

The fund was set up to help farmers affected by the winter floods in areas like the Somerset Levels to get back on their feet.

DEFRA says it has so far received 229 applications, worth a total of £2.69 million. The window for farmers to apply for grants up to £35,000 closes tomorrow, 27th June.

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