THE Environment Agency and the local authorities in Somerset have declared a major incident because of flood risk in the county. 

Enhanced pumping began on Tuesday evening (January 17) at Northmoor to reduce the amount of water being stored until river levels allow pumping to resume at Currymoor, which remains full.

But the decision to declare a major incident at this time is a precautionary move and will mean partners become more coordinated and ready to support and take action should the situation worsen. 

Ian Withers of 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.” 

Cllr Bill Revans, leader of Somerset County Council, said: “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.” 

Additional pumps are pumping at Saltmoor and Northmoor, to help reduce levels as much as possible when the River Parrett has capacity.

Extra pumps are also ready to use at Currymoor once conditions allow Once the water level at Currymoor has reduced, Athelney spillway will stop flowing into Northmoor as well as the A361 between East Lyng and Burrowbridge.

A flood warning for that area remains in place and the road is closed.   

A flood warning has been issued for Saltmoor and Northmoor and agency officers were in the village of Moorland yesterday to meet with residents and offer advice and support.  

The Environment Agency urges residents to check their flood risk by signing up for flood warnings and create a flood plan so they know what action to take and are prepared to act.

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