Major incident declared in Somerset over risk of flooding


Flood water encircled the Bathampton Mill pub after the River Avon burst its banks (Picture: Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

A major incident has been declared in Somerset due to the risk of flooding in the county.

The Environment Agency announced the move, which it described as ‘precautionary’, this morning.

A response is underway to incidents in the Somerset and Bristol Avon area, with workers also monitoring rising groundwater levels in Dorset.

The region has faced severe flooding in the past, notably in 2014 when the Army was deployed to reach communities cut off by flooded roads.

Ian Withers, from the Environment Agency, said: ‘The sight of water on the Somerset Levels and Moors is obviously a concern to those who have suffered from flooding before.

‘Our staff continue to work to the best of their abilities to protect people and properties, install pumps and engage with communities.

‘The situation is expected to improve when enhanced pumping begins and we continue to run the Sowy flood relief channel.

‘It is prudent to plan for the worst and going into major incident mode is appropriate, so we coordinate with partners and everyone is ready to respond if needed.’

A lady walks her dogs along the banks of the River Ton (Picture: Suzy Hamilton / SWNS)

Much of the county has been affected by wild weather (Picture: Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

Flood water surrounds the A361 road (Picture: Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

Three additional pumps began working at Northmoor pumping station last night to reduce the amount of water being stored until river levels allow pumping to resume at Currymoor, which remains full.

In 2014, hundreds of homes were affected by flooding on the Somerset levels.

The Army was deployed to bring relief to those affected and deliver sandbags to homes.

Heavy rain even threatened to overwhelm an ‘island fortress’ built to protect a £1m home from unruly weather.

Bill Revans, leader of Somerset County Council, said today: ‘The decision to declare a major incident at this stage means we are well placed to respond.

‘We will be supporting Environment Agency colleagues on the ground and taking every step to ensure our communities receive the help they need.’

Somerset was rocked by another major incident yesterday after a double-decker bus overturned in icy weather.

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