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Govt on standby after tidal surge threat

The Government is standing ready to help any local communities affected by the tidal surge expected to hit the east coast of England, the Prime Minister said today.

Speaking after chairing a meeting of the Government emergency planning committee, Gordon Brown said he hoped people would be assured that everything is being done to ensure their safety.

Those who live along or visit parts of the Lincolnshire coast were being warned about a possible surge between 3pm and 7pm today.

Police patrols were checking tourist spots along the east coast due to the weather in the North Sea.

The Donna Nook, Saltfleet and Mablethorpe areas, as well as the salt marshes around The Wash, could be vulnerable to surging tides.

Mr Brown said: "Our first priority is to ensure people are safe, and that's why over the course of yesterday and throughout the night we have been bringing in the helicopters, the sandbags, the preparations that are absolutely necessary so that people are safe,

"National government stands ready to help local communities with any difficulties that arise."

Mr Brown thanked people for their co-operation in evacuating homes and businesses in the at-risk areas.

Mr Brown said: "It's too early to assess the damage that has been done. I think it very important we make preparations when given warnings by the Environment Agency and Met Office.

"In the course of the next few hours, the important thing is that we continue to monitor the situation locally and through the Met Office."

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