Somerset village prepares as major flooding incident declared

People in the village of Moorland in Somerset have been preparing for the worst after a major incident was declared for flooding.

With water levels rising on both Currymoor and Northmore, the Environment Agency declared the incident as a way of co-ordinating with local organisations and preparing for any potential problems.

However, with drier weather forecast at the end of the week it is hoped the water will recede, protecting villages and homes.

The rapid increase of water in the moors has had an impact, though.

Jessica Gough moved to Moorland from London last autumn with her partner.

They’ve spent the last few months investing in and working on a vegetable garden - now all but destroyed after the rising floodwaters turned their home into effectively an island.

She said: "It's been a dream that we've been working towards for years. So to have got to this point and then to see it all destroyed after a lot of hard work and planning is really upsetting.

"Actually it's been really scary as well because at first it was a small patch of the land and it's just sort of worked its way up. Every morning you wake up and you dread looking out the window through the curtains because you don't know what you're going to see."

Jessica is now packing and preparing just in case she needs to evacuate, just as so many in the village did during the major floods in 2014.

Farmer James Winslade had to evacuate cattle during that flood event. He said: "It is a lot of stress. We've been wondering if it carries on like this, if the pumps don't get in, we've got days before we need to evacuate cattle and then where do we go with the cattle?"

James says he’s lost £35,000 worth of sown crops - all now underwater. He said: "It's brought back so many memories for not only myself evacuating cattle, but the people in the village, the older generation are also really shocked at how fast it's come up."

The major incident has sparked mixed feelings here, with some questioning why extra temporary pumps weren’t put in place sooner - but many praising the Environment Agency workers on the ground.

Ian Withers, from the Environment Agency, said: "I think we've reacted really positively - sooner than ever and protected people.

"Having said that, this event's been really different. It's rained intensely, frequently, whereas before in 2013/14, it rained steadily for a month.

"We absolutely need to sit down after this and say, what do we need to do differently if our climate is changing and the rain is behaving differently."

With some days of dry weather now forecast - easing the already swollen moors, the hope is that the flooding will recede here. But Moorland and people across the Somerset Levels are getting ready, just in case.