LiveFLOODING LATEST: Prince Charles visits Somerset flood victims today

First published in Somerset
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Summary

  • Prince Charles to visit flood victims in Muchelney, Thorney and Stoke St Gregory.
  • Prince to visit farmers and residents.
  • Somerset battered by overnight stormy weather as more roads flood.
  • Use #Charlesvisit on Twitter.

10:21am

HEARING reports that Riddlers Coaches are advising pupils at West Somerset College who use their service to take earlier coaches due to poor road conditions.

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A flood warning has been issued by the Environment Agency for Minehead, Combwich, Bridgwater and Burnham.

The Environment Agency are warning that strong winds and high tides may result in the crests of waves being blown onshore onto the streets.

10:34pm

Around 500 houses across the Taunton and Bridgwater area have been hit by power cuts during the storm.

13,500 houses have been hit by power cuts across the South West, however most of the affected areas are in Cornwall and South Devon.

A spokesperson from Western Power Distribution said: "About 500 customers have been affected in and around Taunton and Bridgwater, spread across 15 different high voltage incidents.

"This has been caused by wind speeds in excess of 75mph causing flying debris, whether it be trees or flying garden furniture, hitting our power distribution."

10:26pm

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Three lanes on the M5 southbound between Taunton and Wellington, junctions 25 and 26, have been closed due to flooding.

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The fire service have removed a tree blocking two lanes on the M5 southbound between junctions 26 and 27.

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10:00pm

Severe weather and further flooding is causing a serious disruption to traffic across Somerset.

The A38 Rumwell Hall between Taunton and Wellington is closed due to flooding. The road is blocked in both directions at Stonegallows, with reports on one car stranded.

Village Road in Hatch Beauchamp is blocked due to a tree blocking the path.

A tree is also blocking the road in Bishops Lydeard on High St near the A358, with another tree and further flooding on the A39 between Washford and Bilbrook. 

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Somerset is being hammered by gale force winds and ice cold rain, increasing the chance of further flooding.

Let us know of any flooding or weather related issues by tweeting @CountyGazette or email newsquestsomerset@gmail.com

5:10pm

Met Office forecasters are warning that heavy rain and gale force winds will continue to affect the UK at times this week.

The stormy conditions are expected to bring damaging gusts of wind of up to 60mph inland and perhaps as high as 80mph along some southern and western coasts of Britain on Tuesday night and Wednesday. 

A yellow Met Office national severe weather warning has been issued for gales and heavy rain for each of the Atlantic depressions forecast to affect the UK.

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MORE photos from Stoke St Gregory.

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4:43pm

PHOTOS of Prince Charles's visit to Stoke St Gregory.

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2:38pm

2:25pm

Photos from the Muchelney visit...

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2:21pm

PEOPLE in Stoke St Gregory were delighted at the Prince's visit.

Lee Howell, chief fire officer for Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service, said: "He was very interested in the work we've done with other agencies.

"He was in how the fire service has been working to provide advice to the communities affected."

Anthony Gibson, of the NFU, said: "We talked about the need to get the rivers sorted out - not only the initial drainage, but to keep them clear but little and often work thereafter.

"He showed genuine concern."

Taunton Deane Mayor Cllr Libby Lisgo said: "Local people in the village were clearly really pleased to see him.

"He can't really do anything, but he's got the ear of a lot of people.

"By being here, he's finding out for himself and showing people that he cares about what's going on here."

John Denbee, vice chairman of Somerset County Council, said: "His visit means a great deal.

"It gives us a high profile and draws attention to the major floods in this area."

Farmer James Winslade, who earlier showed Prince Charles around his farm in Moorland, said: "We appreciate him coming down because we need to keep the pressure on to let as many people as possible see what's going on."

Cllr Gill Slattery said: "People are feeling comforted by his visit."

Alfred van Pelt, of Flooding on the Levels Action Group (FLAG) said: "He's helping make the problem high profile and keeping the pressure up.

"He's probably more aware of the problems than some of the people in decision-making positions.

"We're thrilled he's here."

Cllr Tim Slattery said: "His visit is tremendous for the community.

"At last people are taking notice of an issue that's threatening the community for several years."

 

2:12pm

CHILDREN from Willow Set Pre-School in Stoke St Gregory. 

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1:57pm

PRINCE Charles in Stoke St Gregory. 

1:39pm

THE Prince has reached Muchelney, where he has just boarded a boat to reach inaccessible parts of the village.

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12:54pm

THE Prince’s Countryside Fund has today announced a £50,000 donation from its emergency fund to help farmers and rural communities in Somerset.

It has allocated £25,000 to The Farming Help Partnership (which includes The Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution, Farm Community Network and the Addington Fund), and £25,000 to the Somerset Community Foundation.

The Duke of Westminster has revealed he will personally match the funding and donate an additional £50,000 - taking the total available to £100,000.

The Somerset Community Foundation will use the funding to provide emergency relief grants to small businesses and individuals affected by the flooding.

It is hoped this will help them complete emergency repairs and compensate for loss of income, damage of shop stock and increased fuel costs.

 

12:31pm

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Prince Charles is now in Stoke St Gregory. 

He is at The Williams Hall, meeting villagers, farmers and emergency services personnel who have been affected by flooding.

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Prince Charles is now in Somerset and is due to visit Stoke St Gregory and Muchelney this afternoon. 

10:12am

Reporters Phil Hill and Michael Marsh are covering HRH's visit today. If you're on Twitter, send us your comments, pictures and whatever else you like by using hashtag #Charlesvisit - we'll include some of the best in this live blog throughout the day.

9:02am

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Chard & Ilminster News: PRINCE-CHARLES-(HC)-47C4920.jpg

The Prince of Wales will visit flood-hit areas of Somerset today.

Charles will be introduced to local residents, farmers and members of the emergency services who have been affected by the recent flooding on the Somerset Levels.

Among the places the prince will visit are the village of Muchleney, which has been cut off for a month, and a local farming family at Langport, where he will see damage caused by the flood waters.

The area has seen some of the worst flooding in living memory, with whole villages cut off and hundreds of homes and business flooded.

As reported, there has been growing discontent, where criticism has been levied at the Government and environment officials for not doing enough.

The Prince's visit comes as it has emerged that thieves have been targeting flood victims in the area.

Charles, who has a long-held commitment to supporting Britain's hard-pressed rural areas, is carrying out the visit as patron of the Prince's Countryside Fund.

The fund allocates grants to rural projects twice a year and also reserves a portion of its income to be used in times of crisis.

Yesterday, a cheaper helpline for flooding victims was opened for calls from the public after David Cameron overruled quango bosses who said it was "not appropriate" to publicise it during a flooding crisis.

The new Floodline number - 0345 9881188 - was released after complaints that callers were being charged up to 41p a minute to call the existing Environment Agency helpline on the premium rate number 0845 9881188, with the money going to a private firm.

The 0345 number had already been set up and was operational as part of a wider Whitehall move away from pricier 0845 numbers, but the EA said it was not promoting it "proactively" to avoid confusion.

But Downing Street said Mr Cameron wanted use of the premium number to be ended "as quickly as it possibly can be", and it was later revealed that the new helpline was open for calls.

A spokeswoman for the Environment Agency said they had "never made any money" from the 0845 number adding the full switch to 0345 9881188 will take place as soon as possible.

Telecommunications watchdog Ofcom encouraged all public bodies to use 03 numbers, which are charged at the same rate as calls to 01 or 02 "geographical" numbers and must be included within "free call" bundles in phone packages.

Calls to 03 numbers cost between 0p-10p per minute from landlines and 10p-40p from mobiles, though most mobile users will pay at the lower end of this range.

Environment Agency chairman Lord Smith said he had not visited the Somerset Levels since they were submerged and admitted "we probably have not done as much as we should have done" to dredge the area's rivers.

He told Sky News: "I haven't yet been, in the last four weeks, to the Somerset Levels but I have been to the Somerset Levels on three occasions in the course of the last year and will be going back there."

He acknowledged that dredging of the Tone and Parrett rivers would have to be "an element" of plans to manage the flood risk in future.

Further flooding is expected as high sea levels, strong winds and large waves combine to increase the risk in coastal regions.

Severe flood warnings are in force along the River Severn, while further heavy rainfall could see flooding for much of south-west and southern England.

Comments (3)

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9:43pm Tue 4 Feb 14

Blue Owl says...

Today Tuesday was a " Special Flood Meeting " in Sedgemoor District Councils Chamber, typically no Reporter Coverage Present to note the Importance of this Meeting.
Sedgemoor residents, myself included, spoke on this Agenda Item, after a full and interesting Debate, a Six Point Resolution, in how to take forward the views of Council to enable quick, responses to further Dredging Works, and to formulate a Policy to deal in the short term, the flooding of Properties and Businesses. With a solution in the Medium , long term to deal with the excess water laying on the Levels, and how to minimise future flood damage, as a consequence, noted the inaction of the Top Management of the Environment Agency, in their role as the Agency responsible !!!
A further Council Meeting on 19th February , will discuss further action to take.
The Council passed unanimously the Councils resolution, to act as soon as possible to relief the situation, of those residents affected, by water ingress.
David L Preece
Blue -Owl
Today Tuesday was a " Special Flood Meeting " in Sedgemoor District Councils Chamber, typically no Reporter Coverage Present to note the Importance of this Meeting. Sedgemoor residents, myself included, spoke on this Agenda Item, after a full and interesting Debate, a Six Point Resolution, in how to take forward the views of Council to enable quick, responses to further Dredging Works, and to formulate a Policy to deal in the short term, the flooding of Properties and Businesses. With a solution in the Medium , long term to deal with the excess water laying on the Levels, and how to minimise future flood damage, as a consequence, noted the inaction of the Top Management of the Environment Agency, in their role as the Agency responsible !!! A further Council Meeting on 19th February , will discuss further action to take. The Council passed unanimously the Councils resolution, to act as soon as possible to relief the situation, of those residents affected, by water ingress. David L Preece Blue -Owl Blue Owl
  • Score: 2

10:35pm Tue 4 Feb 14

orchardman says...

Very nice of HRH to pay a visit, and make a (small) donation. However, in these days of ever reducing budgets, just how much did the visit cost - probably a lot more than the £50,000 donation when all the policing, security etc. is totted up. I watched the BBC news covering the visit, and counted 4 police vehicles just in the area behind the reporter.Money that could have been better spent ensuring the safety and security of those affected from the low life that are only too ready to take advantage of the situation.
Very nice of HRH to pay a visit, and make a (small) donation. However, in these days of ever reducing budgets, just how much did the visit cost - probably a lot more than the £50,000 donation when all the policing, security etc. is totted up. I watched the BBC news covering the visit, and counted 4 police vehicles just in the area behind the reporter.Money that could have been better spent ensuring the safety and security of those affected from the low life that are only too ready to take advantage of the situation. orchardman
  • Score: 3

9:30am Wed 5 Feb 14

Blue Owl says...

Prince Charles visit was welcomed by the whole Community, he highlighted the severe conditions that the residents of Muchelney and other Communities have endured over this last month, for the 2nd year, the Environment Agency, should be Sanctioned, stripped of their Responsibilty, for Water Management, they have Failed Dismally, their Policies in not keeping our River Parrett from Silting Up, is Tantamount to Incredullous Stupidity, the River Parrett can hold Four Times the Volume of water if de-silted Annually, the Mud -Silt put onto the Banks to heighten the Defenses. You can not get a Quart into a Pint Pot, so make the pot hold more volume, it is not Rocket Science, it was done up to 20 years ago, b4 this Angency was Created, ,,,,!!!!!!!!!!!
The sea defences have withstood, so far, the Parrett has not Breached its banks, But there is no where to pump the excess rain water, that has to be pumped into the River Parrett Tidal River, so as it goes out to sea on the Ebb Tides Twice Daily...........then the Moors can be Drained, but this will take at least 3 months, @ a cost of £100k per week for the Pumping Operation.
How many £ Million s of ££££££££ will this Disaster cost, in Claims on Insurances, in Somerset.........Tha
t's if the residents have insurances after last years Disaster, which was then described as a 1 in 100 year Event, by the Environment Agency Boffin's ,!!!!!!!!!!
David L Preece
Blue-Owl.
Prince Charles visit was welcomed by the whole Community, he highlighted the severe conditions that the residents of Muchelney and other Communities have endured over this last month, for the 2nd year, the Environment Agency, should be Sanctioned, stripped of their Responsibilty, for Water Management, they have Failed Dismally, their Policies in not keeping our River Parrett from Silting Up, is Tantamount to Incredullous Stupidity, the River Parrett can hold Four Times the Volume of water if de-silted Annually, the Mud -Silt put onto the Banks to heighten the Defenses. You can not get a Quart into a Pint Pot, so make the pot hold more volume, it is not Rocket Science, it was done up to 20 years ago, b4 this Angency was Created, ,,,,!!!!!!!!!!! The sea defences have withstood, so far, the Parrett has not Breached its banks, But there is no where to pump the excess rain water, that has to be pumped into the River Parrett Tidal River, so as it goes out to sea on the Ebb Tides Twice Daily...........then the Moors can be Drained, but this will take at least 3 months, @ a cost of £100k per week for the Pumping Operation. How many £ Million s of ££££££££ will this Disaster cost, in Claims on Insurances, in Somerset.........Tha t's if the residents have insurances after last years Disaster, which was then described as a 1 in 100 year Event, by the Environment Agency Boffin's ,!!!!!!!!!! David L Preece Blue-Owl. Blue Owl
  • Score: 0

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