Flooding 'major incident' scaled down

By Laura Linham

24th Jan 2023 | Local News

A major incident was declared on 17 January
A major incident was declared on 17 January

The Environment Agency and the local authorities in Somerset have ended Somerset's 'major incident' flood status, but says the county is still on 'high alert'.

A major incident was declared on 17 January as a precautionary move to coordinate partners as the flood threat increased. With enhanced pumping and recent dry weather, water levels have reduced on the Somerset Levels and Moors.

Avon and Somerset Local Resilience Forum has decided that the precaution is no longer needed. 

Jim Flory of the Environment Agency said: "We have been seeing an improving picture in Somerset over the last few days, with enough water to fill more than 23 million bathtubs a day being pumped back into rivers.

 "Staff continue to work day and night to monitor and stage this major pumping operation as there is still lots of work to do and water to remove. We are grateful to all involved, including our partners, for their help and support." 

 Councillor Bill Revans, Leader of Somerset County Council, said: "The decision to stand up a major incident was not taken lightly, but it was the right move at that time to ensure everyone was ready to take further actions to support our communities if needed. 

 "Thankfully, conditions have improved, and I am grateful to colleagues in the Environment Agency for their efforts to bring in additional pumps. 

 "We will continue to work closely with both partners and local people to monitor the situation and are well placed to react swiftly should the need arise." 

Environment Agency operations will continue in Somerset with Currymoor approximately 80% full. Pumping activity is underway at Currymoor, Saltmoor, Northmoor, West Sedgemoor, Long Load, Westover, Huish Episcopi, and Midelney.

In addition there are temporary pumps running at Elson's Clyce, Haymoor, Fordgate, Kitch Drove and Bridgwater docks. At Dunball, the pumps are operational and running on high tides. 

 While there is still a lot of water still on the Somerset Levels and Moors, and residents are reminded to: 

  • Monitor their flood risk and sign up for flood warnings and create a flood plan so they know what action to take and are prepared to act. You can find links at https://check-for-flooding.service.gov.uk.  
  • Do not drive through floodwater. It is the number one cause of death during flooding and jeopardises yourself and rescue agencies. Floodwater can contain hidden dangers such as uncovered manholes, obstacles or sewage – so never enter floodwater and be careful around riverbanks and spillways. During this cold snap, floodwater could also freeze, so we remind people to never walk or play on or near ice. 
  • Call Mindline – Somerset's emotional support and mental health helpline is open 24/7 on 01823 276892 (local) and 0800 138 1692 (freephone) if they are feeling anxiety or fear or worry about the situation, particularly for those who have been previously affected by flooding.  
  • Follow @EnvAgencySW on Twitter and Environment Agency Wessex on Facebook for updates on the flood situation. 

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