Prime Minister David Cameron has chaired the first Cabinet Committee meeting on Flooding. The new Committee was set up by the Prime Minister earlier this week to coordinate strategic long-term plans on flood recovery and flood resilience, following the severe weather.
Following the meeting, Prime Minister David Cameron said: “We are doing everything we can to help people and businesses deal with the flooding and get back on their feet. And through this new Cabinet Committee we are doing all we can to ensure resilience in the future.”
Military personnel, mostly Royal Marines, are helping by deploying sandbags and improving flood defences. They have now moved to Moorland where they are using 2 Pinzgauer tracked vehicles to help evacuate 140 properties. Military planners are working with relevant agencies at a range of locations to scope what further support the military can offer.
The Environment Agency continues to work day and night, alongside the emergency services and other local specialist agencies to get communities ready for the bad weather. They are running the biggest pumping operation ever seen on the Somerset Levels, with around 2.9 million tonnes of water being pumped out every day – that is the equivalent of 3 Wembley Stadiums.
Specialist pumping equipment has been ordered to clear roads, in addition to the extra pumps government has already sent, and they will keep looking at all options for pumping and dredging. But no amount of pumping will solve the current problem completely because the land is so saturated, so dredging will start as soon as the waters recede enough for it to be safe to do so.
In addition, demountable flood defences and sandbags are being given out and the Agency continues to clear waterways to ensure as many properties as possible are protected.
Work has already begun on an action plan to deliver robust defences against floods in Somerset over the next 20 years.
Press Release, February 14, 2014