By Kim Pilling, Press Association
A £7million flood defence scheme is being launched to help a Lancashire village ravaged by the 2015 Boxing Day downpours.
A total of 344 properties in Croston were affected as residents described their plight as akin to living in "a war zone" as the Army were drafted in to rescue some from their homes and RAF Chinook helicopters dropped sandbags to shore up breached river defences.
The Croston Flood Risk Management Scheme includes an upstream flood storage area on the River Yarrow and 600m earth embankment which is capable of retaining up to 1.3 million cubic metres of water - equivalent to 520 Olympic size swimming pools.
Emma Howard Boyd, chair of the Environment Agency, said: "In February 2016 I saw the devastating impact of the flooding in Croston and I am so impressed by the village's recovery. I want to celebrate the partnership between the community, the Environment Agency, the councils and United Utilities, who created the Croston Flood Risk Management Scheme together.
"Everyone has a part to play in protecting themselves from the risk of flooding but it is by listening to each other and working in partnership that we get the best results."
Cumbria and Lancashire area director of the Environment Agency, Keith Ashcroft, said: "The village of Croston has a history of flooding with 344 properties affected in the Boxing Day 2015 flood, 20 in 2012 and 205 in 1987 from the River Yarrow.
"This scheme allows us to control the flow of the River Yarrow and store water reducing flows downstream. We have kept the community updated throughout the construction of the scheme and the Lower Yarrow Flood Action Group was heavily involved throughout the project, including helping us to work with the whole community who will be able to walk along the embankment as part of the opening event on Thursday."
The scheme received £5.4 million of Government Grant in Aid funding, £1 million from Chorley Council, £181,000 from Lancashire County Council and £667,000 was received from local levy.