Somerset

Somerset Flooding: A guide to who's who

The Somerset Levels have been under water for about a month. Who are the main players trying to deal with the situation?

Owen Paterson

Owen Paterson was appointed Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in September 2012.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Owen Paterson discussed flooding with MPs and residents in Somerset

A former managing director of the British Leather company, he entered Parliament as MP for Shropshire North in 1997 concentrating on rural issues as a junior agriculture spokesman and chairman of the Conservative Rural Action Group.

He held several posts while in opposition, including shadow minister for transport and shadow secretary of state for Northern Ireland.

He was secretary of state for Northern Ireland from May 2010 to September 2012.

He was greeted by angry scenes when he arrived in Somerset on Monday to meet farmers and council leaders.

Jeremy Browne

Liberal Democrat MP for Taunton Deane. In Parliament, he has been a spokesman on foreign affairs and home affairs, and a member of the cross-party home affairs select committee, as well as shadow chief secretary to the Treasury.

He raised the issue of flooding in Somerset during Wednesday's Prime Minister's Questions. David Cameron responded saying the current situation was not acceptable and dredging of rivers would begin as soon as it was safe to do so.

Ian Liddell-Grainger

Conservative MP for Bridgwater and West Somerset, Mr Liddell-Grainger attended Millfield School in Somerset. After school he went straight into farming, eventually running a 250-acre arable farm.

With his background in farming he has been highly vocal over the issue of flooding in Somerset and accused the Environment Agency of being wimps adding: "Let's get a bit of backbone into the Environment Agency."

Richard Cresswell

Mr Cresswell has been the Environment Agency regional director for the South West since July 2000.

Following an early career in fisheries, conservation and recreation with Thames, Yorkshire and Welsh Water Authorities he became the National Rivers Authority's area manager for Northumbria in 1993, and regional general manager for Northumbria and Yorkshire in 1995.

The Environment Agency has come under heavy criticism over its response to the flooding in the area.

Mr Cresswell told BBC Somerset it was doing everything it could and had to wait for all the water to drain off the Levels, and for the river banks to become safe, before heavy equipment can be brought in.

John Osman

Image copyright Somerset County Council
Image caption The vote for Mr Osman was almost unanimous

Elected Conservative leader of Somerset County Council in May 2012. He was born in Somerset and currently lives in Wells.

On Friday, Mr Osman and deputy chief executive of the council, Pat Flaherty, declared a major incident in the county ahead of warnings of further rain.

He says Somerset has "had enough" of being affected by flooding in this way.

He says he is calling for significant flood investment in the county, including financial support to dredge the rivers Parrett and Tone at an estimated cost is £4m.

The county council has pledged up to £1m for flood works but needs the government and its partners to commit to funding the remainder.

Kerry Rickards

Chief executive of Sedgemoor District Council, Mr Rickards was first to declare a major incident - hours before the county council.

At the time he said several Sedgemoor communities had been "severely affected" by the floodwaters for some weeks and with significant rainfall expected the council felt the situation needed to be escalated as a major incident.

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