Eric Pickles' statement following the 7 February COBR meeting he chaired on government action in response to the extreme weather.
Local Government Minister Eric Pickles said:
I have chaired this evening’s COBR. We continue to make sure every preparation is made before the severe weather expected this weekend and the following days.
I ask everyone to remain vigilant and follow the advice being issued by the Environment Agency.
The Prime Minister has been to Somerset to inspect the defence efforts and make sure everyone who needs it is getting help. The Transport Secretary was in Dawlish to see the extent of the damage and ensure a convenient and quick rail replacement service is up and running.
I will be writing to councils shortly about lowering the threshold for the Bellwin scheme, which I estimate will make an extra £15 million available to meet the immediate costs associated with protecting lives and properties.
I want to pay tribute to all the people who have rallied to support those communities affected. That impressive British goodwill has seen neighbour helping neighbour, people refusing to take money for providing shelter and Gatwick waiving fees for additional Flybe flights to Newquay.
I want to reassure the country that everything possible is being done to help those communities affected by these terrible storms, and work to be prepared for any further bad weather we may see in the days ahead.