CONFUSION over a so-called order restricting pumps at Northmoor Pumping Station has made life hell for one family.

Pauline Wheelhouse, who lives next to the pumps at Northmoor, says her family has been confronted by landowners and residents who are convinced she asked for a 'noise abatement order' to prevent some of the larger pumps from being switched on.

Two of the original heavy duty pumps were not activated until thousands of acres of countryside had already flooded.

But Pauline told the Mercury: “I would like to make it clear that we never asked the Environment Agency to stop using the pumps, even when the vibrations from them were shaking our home and caused plaster to fall from the ceiling.

“We only asked the EA to properly maintain the pumps. We've been here 14 years and we completely understand why they need to be used.

“We've been getting blamed for this and it's been awful.”

Robbie Williams, from the EA, said it is doing everything it can to help reduce the risk of flooding to property.

He said the extreme high tides experienced in early January had “limited” the ability to pump.

Sedgemoor's Environmental Health team discussed with the EA last year the possibility of issuing a noise abatement order for Northmoor Pumping Station, following concerns about vibration caused by the two static diesel pumps.

Mr Williams added: “We voluntarily stopped using the diesel pumps, so no order was necessary.

“In light of the current extreme conditions we have reintroduced the use of these diesel pumps during daylight hours.”

Pauline said the vibration from the pumps was due to a lack of maintenance.

She added: “They are now being maintained by Colin Champion, who retired from the EA some years ago. He comes every 300 hours to check them.

“Since they have started to be maintained, there has been no problem at all.”