Community update – Somerset Levels Flooding

Produced on behalf of the multiple agencies supporting those affected by the floods.

Monday 17th February 2014

For latest weather forecasts, visit the Met Office www.metoffice.gov.uk

For flood warnings, visit www.environment-agency.gov.uk or call 0345 988 1188.

Latest news

Muchelney transport changes

The  BV206 All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) that serves the west route to Drayton and beyond is currently out of service and awaiting repair. The County Council boat serving the north towards Langport, will be extended to run from 8am to 5.30pm until the west route is back in service.

A Unimog vehicle continues to serve the community provided by the Fire and Rescue Service, operating 6am to 11pm. 

Dunball pumps

Last week the Environment Agency were looking at the best opportunities for the Dunball pumps to pump from the Kings Sedgemoor Drain (KSD) at different states of tide in combination with the natural gravity discharge.  They anticipated that scouring (erosion of the bank) could occur on low tides.  The Environment Agency are repositioning the discharge point using equipment already on site and are using standard engineering solutions to prevent further damage.  They will continue to review the flow rates – through gravity and pumping – to make sure the greatest volume of water possible can be discharged through this system.  At 8.30 this morning, 4 of the 8 pumps were operating.  This may change during the day.

Bridgwater Docks pump

There is a pump now in place and commissioned, at Bridgwater Docks.  It is a contingency pump so that if water rises it can then be discharged into the River Parrett.  Levels in the Bridgwater and Taunton Canal remain stable, thus the pump will not be operating under these conditions.

Dutch inspectors

Four Dutch inspectors are working with the Environment Agency this week.  They are here as an additional resource to help inspect river banks and we are delighted that the Dutch government has offered this support.  Today, two of the inspectors are looking at bank stability on an accessible stretch of the River Parrett downstream of Langport.

Information to local people in the King Sedgemoor Drain system

Over the weekend and today the Environment Agency have door knocked and dropped in information about the pumping operation to residents in low lying parts of Aller, Westonzoyland, Othery, Andersea and Thorngrove.  They had anticipated that they might have been in a position to open Monks Leaze Clyse early this week.  We now know that it will not be until the back end of the week.

New FLAG centre for flooding donations

Thanks to the hard work of all the organisers and volunteers, FLAG have secured and set up a more suitable place for the donations and collections for flood victims.

The new centre is located at the old Somerfield distribution centre, Huntworth Business Park, Junction 24 Bridgwater TA6 6PS.

Donations can re-commence now. Everything can be taken here between 10am – 3pm, 7 days a week.

Items needed:-

  • Food (with good use by dates)
  • Toiletries
  • Saucepans
  • Kitchenware
  • Towels
  • Bedding
  • Clothes
  • Footwear
  • Toys
  • Books
  • Stationery
  • Paper cups & plates

Collections

Flood victims can go and pick up what they need between 10am to 3pm, 7 days a week.
Please take ID to confirm your address. Due to security controls on site, only pre-arranged volunteers are able to staff the centre (drop off of donations is fine). We have no capacity to accept furniture at the moment and cannot store flammable items e.g. deodorant spray canisters.

During opening hours you can contact by phone on: 07754 407282

Other useful numbers if you want to make a donation or seek help are:

  • Somerset County Council on 0845 345 9166, email generalenquiries@somerset.gov.uk  
  • The Police on 101 – If it’s not an emergency they will pass you to the County Council
  • Sedgemoor District Council – 0845 408 2540, local rate 01278 435435

Public events 

  • Sedgemoor District Council has changed the date of its Full Council meeting on 19 February to the new date of 24 February at 2:30pm.
  • Somerset County Council’s Full Council meeting is on Wednesday 19 February. A flood update will be discussed as well as the 6 week plan.
  • Weekly flooding surgeries are taking place at the Canalside Conference Centre, Marsh Lane, Bridgwater, for the next four Wednesdays, 6-8pm. Residents can talk one-to-one to representatives from the organisations providing help and support during the flood. The first surgery attracted more than 100 people. For further information please call 01278 435423.

General advice and support

Evacuating your home

Taking the decision to evacuate your home when it’s flooded is understandably hard. But personal safety is paramount.

If your home is flooded – without power supplies or working toilets – then that’s the time to go, and you can be assured there’s help available to ensure you can leave safely, find accommodation and even return to pick up prized possessions.

If you are leaving your property and you are connected to a domestic supply of LPG (orange metal gas cylinders) we recommend that you isolate the supply by disconnecting any cylinders in use at your property.

 

Take care when the waters recede

After being flooded, remember not to turn on gas or electrics until they have been checked by a qualified technician.

Members of the community affected by the flood waters are advised to contact their insurance companies who can support them after the flood waters recede.

If you have decided to evacuate your property, or have moved back in, please keep your District Council updated on your movements wherever possible. This helps keep people safe and protect properties. Contact details are at the bottom of this newsletter.

Sandbags

To request sandbags please contact Sedgemoor, Taunton Deane or South Somerset district councils using the contact details at the end of this update.

Welfare, benefits and Environmental Health information

This is provided for residents and businesses by district councils. They can give you help and advice around, temporarily homelessness, Council Tax reduction, housing benefits, business rates relief and Environmental Health services, such as dealing with septic tanks. Please use the contact details at the end of this update.

Transport Arrangements

Muchelney

Please see latest news for Muchelney transport arrangements.

Huntworth to Moorland

An ATV is transporting people and supplies along this route. There is no timetable as this is a shuttle service responding to local requests, 5am to 12pm.

Oath

A third All-Terrain vehicle has arrived in Somerset and will be running in Oath between 5am 12pm. We will be working with the community to tailor the service to their needs.

Information Points

  • Community Contact Vehicles (mobile police stations) are operating in Burrowbridge and Moorland.
  • South Somerset residents can visit Langport Information Centre, Bow Street, for advice and information. Opening times: Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 9am to 2pm, for help with district council services. A home visit will be arranged for people who can’t get to an office. Contact details at the end of this update, including details of other local community offices.

 

Fuel charges

The local authority has arranged the delivery of fuel (logs, coal, oil etc) to residents. A record is being kept of who gets what fuel delivered but payment is not being asked for on delivery. We will bill later, but can assure residents the charges will not exceed the normal cost for delivery.

You should arrange fuel deliveries with your usual supplier or with Darch Oils (07970 400945). The British Red Cross can only help deliver fuel when supplies cannot reach delivery points.

Grants Available

Grants at a flat rate of £250 are available to alleviate the immediate financial hardship experienced by people whose homes are flooded or who were evacuated from their homes due to flooding. Also, grants of between £150 and £1,000 may be awarded to households directly and indirectly affected by the floods. Contact Somerset Community Foundation on 01749 344949 or download the application form from http://www.somersetcf.org.uk.

Health FAQs

A list of useful FAQs covering a range of flood related health topics such as preparing food safely, washing and drinking water safely can be found at www.hpa.org.uk.

If you need health services, please call 111 or your GP for advice in the normal way. In a medical emergency you should still dial 999 and ask for the ambulance service.

Emergency accommodation

There is a rest centre, established by Sedgemoor District Council, at WestfieldChurch in West Street, Bridgwater (TA6 7EU). Details available from Sedgemoor District Council on 0845 4082540 or from the police number 101.

Welfare of domestic and farm animals

If you need to move your animals – whether domestic or farm – as part of a possible flood evacuation, contact the police number 101 for further assistance and information.

Keep Safe

  • If sandbagging defences alongside rivers, be aware of the risk of fast flowing rivers. This also applies on flooded drives, roads, and pavements, where obstructions could include man-hole covers that may become dislodged.
  • A public access defibrillator is in Muchelney’s church hall.
  • High profile Police patrols continue and crime figures for the area remain much the same as last year. Remain vigilant and call 101 if you see anything suspicious.
  • Please don’t use petrol or diesel generators or similar fuel-driven equipment indoors, be it for heating, pumping or generating electricity. The exhaust gases contain carbon monoxide, which can kill. More advice about carbon monoxide poisoning is available on the NHS Choices website (www.nhs.uk). Anyone who is worried about their health can contact NHS 111.

Half term advice for parents

With children out and about over half-term next week, Public Health England and Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue have issued advice to parents in flooded areas:

  • Keep children and the vulnerable out of flood water
  • Don’t let children play near flood water
  • Avoid walking or driving through flood water if possible
  • Don’t walk on sea defences or riverbanks
  • Take care or avoid crossing bridges when water levels are high
  • Take care crossing culverts as they are dangerous when flooded
  • Don’t eat food that has touched floodwater
  • Wash your hands regularly in clean warm water with soap or use hand gel
  • Sandbags and sandbag “walls” could be an attraction to children and may appear to be quite robust but youngsters should be urged to keep well away from them and certainly not climb or play on them.

Useful contact numbers

  • Police – 101 for general calls and 999 for emergency calls
  • Environment Agency – 0345 9881188 for flood issues
  • Sedgemoor District Council:

Telephone: 0845 408 2540 or local rate 01278 435435. Outside of these hours their 24/7 number is 0800 917 6520.

Email: customer.services@sedgemoor.gov.uk

Website: www.sedgemoor.gov.uk

  • South Somerset District Council:

Telephone: 01935 462462 Monday to Friday (8.45am to 5.15pm) with an out of hours service providing cover for emergencies outside of these times.

Email: info@southsomerset.gov.uk

Website: www.southsomerset.gov.uk

  • Taunton Deane Borough Council:

Tel: 01823 356356 with an out of hours service for emergencies

Emails: enquiries@tauntondeane.gov.uk

Website: www.tauntondeane.gov.uk

  • Somerset County Council:

Roads and Transport 0845 345 9155

Adult Social Care 0845 345 9133

Children & Learning 0845 345 9122

General Enquiries 0845 345 9166

  • Emergency accommodation – call Sedgemoor District Council or Police 101 number
  • Farming Community Network – Local 01934 712128 National 0845 3679990
  • Mindline – 01823 276892 Line open: Friday, Saturday, Sunday 8pm-12am
  • Samaritans Taunton branch – 01823 288 998 (24hr); Yeovil branch 01935 476455
  • Somerset Carers Network – 01749 836 633
  • 24 hour health care advice – 111
  • Village Agents – Community Council for Somerset has Village Agents who can be contacted for advice and support, especially for the vulnerable:

– Alison Hoare: AHoareva@somersetrcc.org.uk 07798 703321. Moorland and surrounding area, Chedzoy, Westonzoyland, Middlezoy

– Audrey Mansfield: AMansfieldva@somersetrcc.org.uk 07870 577925. Creech St Michael and surrounding area including West Monkton, Ruishton, Lyng, Stoke St Gregory, Burrowbridge, Othery.

– Carolyn Roche: CRocheva@somersetrcc.org.uk 07968 521746. Muchelney area Hamdons, Montacute, Chilithorne Domer, Ash.

If you wish to contact the Village Agent manager sarah@somersetrcc.org.uk 01823 331222

 

Contacting the police

Don’t forget the Police’s new dedicated email address floodinginsomerset@avonandsomerset.co.uk and the form on the Police website, both of which can be used to tell us your requirements and can be acted on 24-7.

This is in addition to the usual 101 Police number.