As we continue to face these extraordinary weather events, I have made clear again in COBR this afternoon that every resource is available to the local communities affected.
We will keep providing whatever immediate practical support and assistance is needed, whether that is extra pumps and sandbags; military support on the ground; emergency funds from the new £7 million severe weather assistance fund for local councils.
In Somerset, the Environment Agency is starting a further flood alleviation plan and, as I’ve said before, when the water levels come down and it’s safe to do so, they will be dredging to make sure that these rivers and ditches can carry more water. With significant disruption to rail lines across the South, but particularly in the South West, I have asked Network Rail to closely monitor the situation and do whatever it takes to restore the lines.
And as we continue to work on a long-term solution to alleviate the risk of flooding, leading scientific and hydrological experts from the UK and abroad met at Downing Street this afternoon, ensuring that we are drawing on the widest possible pool of scientific expertise.
I want to assure the public and communities affected that we are doing all we can to get them back on their feet.