Pledge to seek help in wake of floods

CLLR Sue Osborne with Environment Secretary, Owen Paterson.

MARCUS Fysh with Eric Pickles.

First published in News Chard & Ilminster News: Photograph of the Author by

FAMILIES in South Somerset are being assured that help is still being sought as flooding continues to affect some parts of the district.

Somerset County Council proposed to put £500,000 more towards river dredging after a mini flood summit last week, bringing the total to £1million.

In addition to offering money for dredging and local flood prevention schemes, the council has issued a rallying call for the Government and Environment Agency to provide the further £3million needed for a comprehensive dredging operation as part of its ‘Fairer Funding for Somerset’ campaign.

Council leader John Osman said: “This extra funding, at a time of extremely challenging finances for the council, is a clear indication of how determined we are to stand up for residents and small businesses who have been devastated by flooding not once, but twice, in just over a year.”

To find out about the council campaign, visit www.facebook.com/fairerfundingforsomerset

Cllr Sue Osborne, who represents Windwhistle on South Somerset District Council, seized the chance at the recent Semex Dairy Farming Conference to stress the seriousness of the flooding situation to Environment Secretary Owen Paterson.

She said: “I was pleased to have the opportunity to question the minister on this important issue for Somerset, especially as he had to quickly return to London to Chair a COBRA meeting on the floods.

“The minister is well aware of the devastating consequences of the recent floods for the farming and rural community in Somerset, and I’m confident he and the Environment Agency will continue to work with us to improve the situation.”

Prospective Tory Yeovil MP and existing county councillor Marcus Fysh met Secretary of State Eric Pickles during the minister’s visit to the South- West.

Mr Fysh highlighted his view that rural councils such as Somerset’s should receive support from Westminster in tackling rural issues such as vital flood prevention works.

He said: “I’ve asked central Government to support Somerset’s dredging initiative to alleviate local flooding problems which we in the county council have backed with £1million, and highlighted other rural issues where Somerset could do with more support.”

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