Somerset Floods brought to the fore at world’s biggest Flood prevention event by Council Leader

“The fight isn’t over for flood-hit Somerset” – this is the message Somerset County Council Leader John Osman has delivered to the world’s biggest flood prevention conference.

Cllr Osman presented on the ‘Somerset Flooding Story’ of 2013/14, and the recovery effort, at the London-based Flood Defence and Protection Expo at the ExCel Arena on Friday 5 December.

He used his talk to raise awareness of The 20 Year Flood Action Plan for Somerset, formed in six weeks in the wake of the floods at the request of Central Government.

He also touched on his positive, on-going talks with the Department for Environment and Rural Affairs on providing the lion’s share of the £2.7m interim funding needed to set up the Somerset Rivers Authority.

Cllr Osman said: “I will never stop banging the drum for our county with Central Government, and lead the call for the resources to rise up and meet our needs.

“A lot of work has been done already. As I speak, flood alleviation schemes at Beer Wall and Mulchelney are progressing well. The people of Somerset showed staggering resilience in the face of adversity, and with the national, and at points, global, media spotlight well and truly upon them earlier this year.

“We need the continued support of Government to ensure flooding of the scale and duration that we have witnessed does not happen again.”

The history of Somerset’s unique, 160,000-acre Levels and Moors landscape, gave context to Cllr Osman’s presentation. Inhabited since Palaeolithic times, many attempts have been made to manage water on the Levels and Moors over the centuries, including by monasteries in the Middle Ages, he told a packed audience.

He shared the scenes from Somerset’s winter floods, which affected some 600 homes between late December 2013 and March 2014, and during which there were just two days without rainfall.

Cllr Osman also gave detail on the response and recovery efforts, including the establishment of the Strategic Coordination Group led by the police, and attended by the military, to support the local response to the weeks-long floods crisis.

For more information about the 20 Year Flood Action Plan, flood schemes, and for a Q&A on the Somerset Rivers Authority, click here: somersetnewsroom.com/flood-action-plan

Notes to editors

For information on the Flood Defence and Prevention Expo, visit http://www.flooddefenceexpo.co.uk