FLAG Press Release re: Campaign Achievements

Release date: 1/29/2014

Press Release

Wednesday 29th January 2014

FLAG Press Release re: Campaign Achievements

During our campaign to get the rivers Parrett and Tone dredged and maintained to safeguard the Somerset Levels for the future we have achieved the following: -

Despite being as severely flooded last year, with just a couple of pieces featured on local TV this year we have appeared on: 
• ITV News (national and local)
• BBC News (national and local)
• Channel 4 News
• Sky News
• Countryfile
• Panorama (to be shown later in the year)
• Dutch TV 
• Californian TV
• BBC Radios 1,2 and 4 (including The Today Programme)
• Radio 5 Live 
• Local radio including BBC Bristol Wales and BBC Somerset
• All national newspapers including broadsheets and tabloids, as well as our local papers
• The Economist
• The Farmers Weekly
• The Farmers Guardian
This media attention has galvanized our local MPs into fully supporting our cause and resulted in the Secretary of State for DEFRA, Owen Paterson visiting our stricken area last week and announcing that stakeholders involved had to produce a report within 6 weeks that would be viable to protect the Levels for at least 20 years.  
Today we had the fantastic announcement that David Cameron has authorised dredging to begin of our rivers as soon as possible.  He also announced that further high volume pumps were to be installed to ensure that the water will be moved away as soon as possible.
Major landowners like the RSPB are supportive of dredging and further anti flooding measures because everyone realises that long term solutions need to be in place to ensure that there is better control of flood management so the unique environment of the Somerset Levels can be protected and workable for future generations.
We remain committed to raising the profile of the Levels, to educating people about the correct management of the Levels and to future planning.  We need to work with the Government, the RSPB, English Nature, Somerset County Council, the local Councils, the Drainage Boards, and the Environment Agency (EA) to ensure that this work is completed.   
These have been terrible and devastating times for some of the local people, but without a doubt the community has remained strong and supportive of the cause.   Social media has played a massive role in the success of the campaign and has been used extensively to share information and advice about flood management, as well as offering support.
We would like to thank the EA who have worked tirelessly to ensure that homes and properties have been protected to the best of their ability.  Managers and policy makers created this situation not the ordinary staff on the ground.  We would like to thank everyone involved who has helped make this campaign such a success.

- Ends - 


Notes to Editors:

1. FLAG Somerset - Flooding on the Levels Action Group. Please find out more by visiting http://www.flagsomerset.org.uk or join our Facebook group at http://www.facebook.com/groups/FLAGsomerset

2. Follow us on twitter @dredgetheriver

3. For more information or to contact us please email pressofficer@flagsomerset.org.uk