Live updates

Flood warnings: Environment Agency alerts in Berkshire, Oxfordshire and Hampshire

The Environment Agency has issued flood alerts warning that flooding is possible in areas including:

  • The Ginge Brook, for the Steventon area down to and including Sutton Courtenay.
  • The Upper River Loddon including Basingstoke, Old Basing, Sherfield-on-Loddon, Chineham and Meadow Park.
  • the River Thames and its tributaries from Days Lock to above Pangbourne, including Dorchester and Overy, Shillingford, Benson, Ewelme, Wallingford, Winterbrook, East Hagbourne, South Moreton, North Stoke, Moulsford, South Stoke, Goring and Streatley

Low lying land and roads will be affected first.

Hottest day for 100 years

Hotter than Greece or Turkey - the South roasted today on the hottest September day for 100 years. It was so hot that health officials issued safety warnings for the young, the old and the unwell.

Hundreds of sunseekers flocked to beaches and parks to savour the Indian Summer.

But powercuts affected up to 4,000 homes in Bournemouth. Christine Alsford reports.

Advertisement

Environment Agency warns of potential flooding in South East overnight

People in South East advised to check their local flood risk with Environment Agency

People living across the South East are being warned about possible flooding tonight because of predictions of thunder storms across Kent and Sussex. Heavy rain is predicted to fall overnight on Wednesday into Thursday. The Met Office has warned of the potential of localised flooding in areas in the south east of England, particularly in parts of Kent, East Sussex and Brighton & Hove.

The Environment Agency will have an incident room open. The organisation also has teams out working on the ground.

“Thunderstorms are expected to bring heavy rain at times across the south east overnight (Wednesday) into Thursday morning, and intermittently through to Friday morning, which may lead to surface water flooding in some communities, and significant disruption to travel, particularly in parts of Kent, East Sussex and Brighton & Hove. There is also a risk of flooding from smaller, faster responding rivers in built-up areas.

‘’People are advised to check their flood risk at https://www.gov.uk/check-if-youre-at-risk-of-flooding or sign up to Floodline on 0345 988 1188. Also, people should stay safe by not going near or trying to drive through fast moving water. Just 30cm of floodwater is enough to move a car.’’

– Ian Nunn, Environment Agency Manager

Amber alert: Heavy rain warning for Kent & Sussex

Weather map showing the area where rain and heavy downpours are expected Credit: MetOffice

The Met Office has issued a warning of heavy rain tonight, with severe thundery downpours expected in the Kent and Sussex areas on Wednesday night, and overnight into Thursday.

Be prepared for heavy thundery downpours in parts of the South East

Flood warnings across Kent

The Environment Agency has issued 14 flood warnings across Kent.

One red flood warning has been issued in Hellingly and Horsebridge.

The Environment Agency expect flooding here and recommend immediate action be taken.

Elsewhere, 13 amber flood alerts have been issued - flooding is possible and residents should be prepared around:

  • Upper River Medway Area
  • Rivers Eden & Eden Brook Area
  • River Rother Area
  • Rivers Tillingham and Brede Area
  • Lower River Stour Area
  • River Beult Area
  • River Bourne Area
  • Lower River Medway Area
  • River Teise and Lesser Teise Area from Horsmonden to Yalding Middle
  • River Medway Area
  • River Teise Area from Lamberhurst to Goudhurst
  • Upper Ouse
  • Cuckmere River

Environment Agency to demonstrate flood defences

The Thames Valley was hit by severe flooding in 2014

The Environment Agency is to demonstrate today how its plans to help communities at risk if flooding in the Thames Valley and Surrey this winter.

Staff will practice putting up temporary defences at firm's Osney Depot in Oxford. The defences will be used in cases of flooding to stop or reduce water reaching properties. The Environment Agency will also showcase its two new incident command vehicles which will help staff operate remotely in the field during flooding emergencies.

The Environment Agency is continuing to plan future flood defences

"Temporary defences have proved highly effective in protecting properties against the devastating effects of flooding. But, we still continue to investigate and deliver permanent solutions that reduce the risk of flooding in communities.

"Although temporary defences reduce the risk of flooding, they do not work in all circumstances. The public should always prepare their property when a flood alert or warning is issued, even if a temporary defence is being erected. Members of the public at risk can sign up for the Environment Agency's flood warning service by calling Floodline at 0345 988 1188."

– Richard Dale, Operations Team Leader, Environment Agency

Advertisement

Skip hire company fined thousands by Environment Agency

A Medway skip hire company and its owner have been ordered to pay £17,120 after an Environment Agency investigation found them operating the site illegally.

Walsh Skip Hire Limited, of Knight Road, Strood, pleaded guilty to the offences at Maidstone Magistrates’ Court and was fined £10,000 with costs of £5000. The company owner Peter Walsh was fined £1500, with costs of £500 and a victim surcharge of £120.

Charges were brought when the Environment Agency investigation found significant volumes of waste on and surrounding the permitted waste site, which exceeded the environmental permit limits of 20 tonnes of non hazardous waste and 150 tonnes of inert waste.

The court heard how site inspections in 2013 identified multiple permit breaches, with excessive amounts of waste on the property and the site infrastructure in a state of disrepair. Environment Agency officers worked with the site operator to address these issues and agreed a course of action; however these actions were not taken.

Two enforcement notices were issued in May 2014 with staged timescales to bring the site into compliance by 14 September 2014, including adhering with the conditions of the environmental permit and removing the huge stockpile of waste, which was now crushing and covering the site’s boundary fences and spreading onto land belonging to several different landowners. However on 15 September 2014 the site was still far below the standards required with multiple permit breaches noted, including the large stockpile of mixed waste on and off the permitted area.

Alan Cansdale, Environment Agency Environment Manager, said:

“The limits within Walsh’s environmental permit reflect the limited space and infrastructure at the site, which is crucial as the mismanagement of waste can have a detrimental impact on the local environment.

The site operator had a history of poor performance and my team have worked with him in the past to improve the situation, however on this occasion he was unable to do so. Those that repeatedly fail to comply with regulations pose a heightened risk to the environment and undermine legitimate business. In such circumstances we will have no hesitation prosecuting to ensure that waste crime doesn’t pay.”

– Environment Agency
  1. David Johns (@davidjohns_itv)

Promise of flood solution in Kent

An independent check is to be made on how the Environment Agency operated a flood barrier in Kent last winter. Residents of Yalding, near Maidstone, which was badly flooded over Christmas, were told about the plan at a meeting last night.

The EA is also promising more precise flood warning zones. But as David Johns reports, many local people were far from impressed with what they heard.

He spoke to Mark Douch from the Environment Agency, local residents John Higgins and Regina Foxley; and Parish Council chairman Geraldine Brown.

Minister: floods quango 'not fit for purpose'

The worst floods seen in the South East for decades were "a disaster waiting to happen".

That's the view of riverside residents in Kent who say dredging and river maintenance has ground to a halt under the Environment Agency.

Sevenoaks MP Michael Fallon agrees with them, describing the Environment Agency as no longer fit for purpose. But the Agency says it does just as good a job as its predecessor the National Rivers Authority. John Ryall spoke to Mr Fallon as well as residents Huw Alban Davies and Roy Newing.

Artificial pond being built to prevent Winchester flooding

Crews are creating an artificial pond to divert excess river water away from Winchester

The Environment Agency is building an artificial pond to help Winchester cope with the exceptionally high levels of water flowing along the River Itchen and into the city.

Crews are using sixty sandbags, each weighing one tonne, to create the holding area which should divert and store flood water away from the city.

The artificial pond should measure 206,000m2 when it is completed Credit: Environment Agency

The pond is being built between the M3 and Easton, upstream of Winchester. By diverting and storing excess water, it should allow rising ground water and water from other streams to drain into the river.

Flood barriers have been put in place at St Bede's School

The artificial pond is being created in partnership with Hampshire County Council which has made the land available, and the Highways Agency which closed lanes on the M3 to allow a crane to lower the sandbags.

The Environment Agency has said it will be monitoring waters levels closely to ensure there is no increased flood risk to residents in the Easton area.

Load more updates