Philip Hammond confronted live on TV by furious Berkshire resident as Britain faces ‘wettest winter for 250 years’

Army has been mobilised across Thames Valley, but Defence Secretary said he ‘can’t guarantee anything’

Click to follow
The Independent Online

As the Environment Agency warned that Britain is heading for its wettest winter in 250 years, the Defence Secretary was left managing his own crisis after being confronted live on TV by a furious flood-hit resident.

Su Burrows, one of the volunteer flood response coordinators in Wraysbury, Berkshire, accused Philip Hammond of “not taking us seriously”, and said that while members of the public risked their lives in the village they hadn’t had any support from either the military or the Environment Agency itself.

Trying to deflect the situation, Mr Hammond suggested they go inside to talk things through – and reports from Wraysbury suggest the Army has now arrived ready to deploy truckloads of sandbags.

Earlier, Su Burrows called on the Prime Minister himself to “get his waders on” and visit the worst-hit areas, and said the community was in desperate need of more help.

“We are running on adrenaline and we don't know how much longer we can keep going,” she said.

“We need big, strong men to help. I'm little. I can't get down these places.”

She added: “We are tired. We need people who can sort their own rotas out and get people where they need to be.”

Ms Burrows also called for more police officers to secure empty properties.

“You're covering an entire village for looting with six officers. These guys can't do this on their own,” she said.

“We have no idea how bad it's going to get. We're preparing for the worst.”

Ministers say Government ‘can’t prevent course of nature’ as more storms bring flooding threat to Home Counties and London
Defiant Sam Notaro's home appears set to succumb to water
Scientists say Government's obsession with deregulation and cost-cutting responsible for Somerset flooding
Donald Macintyre's Sketch: Put-upon Eric Pickles appears out of his depth over flooding comments

Early this morning the Environment Agency tweeted that, according to its measurements, Britain is on track for its wettest winter in 250 years.

Speaking from the south west, where he is with National Rail officials inspecting storm damage to coast-side tracks, David Cameron insisted the Government was “in for the long haul” to ensure the country recovers from the recent devastating weather.

“It is a huge challenge and we have had the wettest start to a year for 250 years, some of the most extreme weather we have seen in our country in decades,“ Mr Cameron said.

"If money needs to be spent, it will be spent; if resources are required we will provide them; if the military can help, they will be there.

He said: “We must do everything but it will take time to put these things right.”