A HUGE pump capable of dealing with thousands of gallons of water has been drafted in to help the Marlow flood rescue efforts as river levels rise to near record levels.

Bucks Fire and Rescue confirmed a High Volume Pump (HVP) vehicle arrived in Marlow last night, delivered by Staffordshire Fire and Rescue teams.

The equipment arrived as the River Thames creeps dangerously close to the levels seen in 1947, when the Thames Valley was blighted by the worst floods of the 20th century.

As of this morning, water markers on the Thames banks are showing current flow only around a foot below the worst recorded floods over 60 years ago.

The fire service’s HVP is capable of pumping 7000 litres of water per minute, and is currently being used at Garnet Court where residents have been battling floods since the festive period.

Fraser Pearson, spokesman for Bucks Fire and Rescue, said: “It is making a huge difference, not just at Garnet Court but towards the whole operation in Marlow.

“It is a huge piece of equipment, and residents will certainly not be used to seeing fire engines like this one in the streets before.”

The HVP is capable of emptying an Olympic-size swimming pool in three hours - three times as fast as standard equipment.

Yesterday, Brandon Lewis, the government minister responsible for the fire service, said if firefighters require extra resources, they would be called in from other areas of the country.

Under the same mutual aid operation, Bucks Fire and Rescue sent a vehicle and team to Somerset to help battle the floods which are ravaging the south west.

However, there are currently no plans to recall the team from their Somerset operation.

Around 50 homes have been affected by floodwater, with residents evacuated from their homes over the weekend.

Flooding is affecting residents along Pound Lane, where the road is closed, and the cul-de-sacs in the vicinity.

The Gossmore area, Mill Lane and Firview Close have also been badly hit, with residents helped from their homes by Bucks Search and Rescue teams on Sunday.

The Environment Agency flood warning is still in place for Marlow, with other areas along the stretch of Thames from Berkshire to Surrey receiving severe warnings, or danger to life.

More rain is forecast for today and tomorrow, with Marlow MP Dominic Grieve set to visit the flood-hit areas later today.