Government response

Eric Pickles' update following the 8 February COBR meeting

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Eric Pickles' statement following the COBR meeting he chaired on the evening of 8 February.

Communities and Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles said:

I have chaired this evening’s emergency committee (COBR) which will sit again, led by the Prime Minister, tomorrow. We are continuing to make sure every preparation is made before the severe weather expected overnight and into next week.

I ask everyone to remain vigilant, stay safe and follow the advice being issued by the Environment Agency.

Local authorities, the military and the emergency services have continued their sterling work on the ground. I want to reassure the public that work continues to protect homes and communities. In addition, strategic sites such as water and electrical plants are being given special attention to ensure that homes are not left without vital resources. This includes distributing extra sandbags and water pumps.

An additional 1,600 military personnel are now on standby across the south and can be deployed rapidly if required.

Flood ambassadors from the Environment Agency are on the ground across the country, including the Thames Valley, to offer help and practical advice to the public about the further bad weather expected.

The Transport Secretary is continuing to ensure that everything is being done to review and repair connections in the south west on the rail network which has been affected again today by landslides. This includes running an 125 additional coaches, doubling the number of flights from Gatwick to Newquay, from 3 to 6 a day, and the introduction of larger planes.

I want to once again pay tribute to everyone who has rallied to support those who need help and reassure the public that everything possible is being done to protect people’s homes and livelihoods.