• Government agency chose not to spend £1.7m on dredging stretches of the River Tone and the River Parrett before recent floods
  • £2.4million was spent on public relations activities, excluding salaries
  • Repeated calls for dredging were made at least six months ago
  • Families have been forced to leave their homes as water levels rise
  • Lord Smith reveals that only £400,000 was put aside for dredging

By Lucy Crossley

PUBLISHED: 04:26 EST, 10 February 2014 | UPDATED: 08:27 EST, 10 February 2014

Environment Agency chiefs spent £700,000 more on public relations than it would have cost to carry out dredging work that may have prevented flooding on the Somerset Levels, it has been revealed.

The Government agency chose not to spend £1.7million on dredging stretches of the River Tone and the River Parrett before the recent flooding left much of the crisis-hit Somerset Levels underwater.

However, bosses at the Environment Agency did spend at least £2.4million on PR activities.

Costly: The Environment Agency spent £2.4million on PR activities, but chose not to spend £1.7million on dredging stretches of the River Tone and the River Parrett before the recent flooding left much of the crisis-hit Somerset Levels, including a number of villages, underwater

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Costly: The Environment Agency spent £2.4million on PR activities, but chose not to spend £1.7million on dredging stretches of the River Tone and the River Parrett before the recent flooding left much of the crisis-hit Somerset Levels, including a number of villages, underwater