Flood warnings up in London amid political row


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Ben Stanstall/AFP

Britain’s Environment Agency issues severe flood warnings after the River Thames burst its banks, threatening lives in the affluent counties of Surrey and Berkshire to the west of London. The government’s response to the floods draws criticism and has become a full-blown political row. Many people in Somerset blame the floods on the failure of the Environment Agency to dredge local rivers. Communities minister Eric Pickles said he was sorry they took the advice of the agency, adding, “We thought we were dealing with experts.” Environment Agency head Chris Smith hit back, accusing ministers of holding back funds. Smith said the Treasury limited the amount the agency could spend on flood management in Somerset.

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