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Flood protection restored to 'over 100,000 homes'

The Environment Agency (EA) says it has repaired 350 flood defences and protected 100,000 homes in the process, after winter floods battered the south of England.

Repairs have been completed in Weymouth, where sea defences were washed away by stormy seas during January and February.

Floods
Communities in Somerset were still cut off by flood waters in February this year. Credit: PA

The EA has also repaired defences at Greatham Creek in Teesside, where flood waters ripped a 50m breach in the sea defence embankment.

Beaches along the Lincolnshire coast have also had their dune systems repaired to restore protection to over 20,000 properties.

The restored defences would supply "peace of mind" but the job was far from finished, the EA said.

Dr Paul Leinster, chief executive of the EA, said: "There is still much more to do, and thanks to the completed inspections we now have a full picture of the condition of all the flood risk management assets across the country."

Read: Storm-wrecked Dawlish rail line reopens

Gatwick chaos during floods 'a wake-up call'

The Christmas Eve chaos at Gatwick Airport should be "a wake-up call for airports across the UK" in tackling disruption, a report by MPs has said.

More than 11,000 travellers were affected by delays and cancellations on December 24 after flooding caused a power failure at the West Sussex airport.

Report finds that Gatwick Airport chaos during flooding in December 2013 should be a 'wake-up call' Credit: PA

In a report today, the House of Commons Transport Committee said that passengers had told of poor and often inconsistent provision of information about what was happening, lack of clarity about who was in charge, a lack of basic facilities and confusion about what expenses could be reimbursed.

The committee's report said: "The problems at Gatwick at Christmas Eve should be a wake-up call for airports across the UK to get on top of operational resilience issues.

"Disruption of whatever nature should be met with well-drilled plans, familiar to airport operators, airlines, and other contractors, which put passenger interests first."

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PM: South west is well and truly open for business

David Cameron has met workers who helped to reopen the Dawlish railway line after it was damaged following the February storms.

The Prime Minister tweeted:

David Cameron: Restoring Dawlish line 'absolutely vital'

David Cameron has hailed the rebuilding of the rail line at Dawlish in Devon as "absolutely vital" to the local economy.

The Prime Minister praised what he called an "engineering triumph" and promised that money would be made available for further transport schemes in the south-west.

Read: Flood destroyed Dawlish rail line reopens

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PM meets workers who helped to reopen Dawlish line

David Cameron is meeting workers who helped to re-open the railway line in Dawlish, Devon, which was destroyed by storms in February.

The south-west was left cut off to trains following the damage caused by bad weather.

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Lots of praise for workers - slightly unnervingly being called the 'orange army' http://t.co/TJeSWC5qZ6

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Somerset Levels dredgers retrieve eight cars from river

Environment Agency staff recover a car from the River Parrett Credit: Aaron Baker / SWNS.com

Workers dredging a river in the Somerset Levels have turned up eight cars over the last week, all within 100 metres of each other.

This van was among eight vehicles retrieved from the riverbed Credit: Aaron Baker/SWNS.com

Environment Agency staff working to help relieve flooding in the area noticed the cars, which could be up to 20 years old, in the drainage channel of the River Parrett.

It is so far unknown how the cars may have ended up on the riverbed, but officials stressed they would not have contributed to recent high water levels.

Workers examine another of the cars retrieved from the River Parrett Credit: Aaron Baker / SWNS.com

Read: Relief for residents as dredging of Somerset Levels begins

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