Hundreds of homes face more floods in south of England

Heavy rain is expected to pour on to saturated ground over weekend, with five flood warnings issued for Somerset Levels

Hundreds of homes across the south of England face further flooding this weekend as heavy rain once again pours on to saturated ground and into full watercourses. A major incident has been declared on the Somerset Levels, where communities have been struggling to cope with weeks of flooding and 17,000 acres of land remain under water.

One Somerset MP, Ian Liddell-Grainger, asked the government to put the armed services on alert should the situation become even more critical.

The chief executive of Sedgemoor council, Kerry Rickards, said: “Several Sedgemoor communities have been severely affected by the floodwaters for some weeks now. With significant rainfall expected over the coming days we feel this situation needs to be escalated as a major incident.”

Sedgemoor has already had to provide facilities ranging from temporary toilets to around 3,000 sandbags for victims of floods. It is ready to set up rest centres for residents if they are flooded out this weekend. Calling a major incident means it can draw on resources from other local authorities and national bodies.

By nightfall on Friday five flood warnings, meaning flooding is expected and immediate action is required, had been published for the Somerset Levels by the Environment Agency. But the agency also said communities across a swath of southern England should prepare for flooding. More than 60 flood alerts – flooding of property is expected and people should prepare – had been issued for the region.

Properties were flooded on Friday in Hampshire, Surrey and Kent. The agency said householders and business people in Wiltshire, west Berkshire and West Sussex should also ready themselves for possible problems.

In the House of Commons earlier this week Somerset MPs called for the county’s rivers to be dredged.

Liddell-Grainger, MP for Bridgwater, said a huge area of Somerset was “drowning”, adding: “Homes are uninhabitable, farms are unworkable and jobs are being expensively destroyed. On the Somerset Levels, people are scared and angry – very angry.”


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