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MPs warn flood protection should take priority

MPs have warned that maintaining flood protection for communities should take priority over cost-cutting, to prevent a repeat of the devastation caused by the winter floods.

MPs warn flood protection should take priority. Credit: PA

The Parliamentary Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Efra) committee said in a report on the floods that funding for clearing rivers, routine dredging and maintaining existing flood defences is at a "bare minimum".

While the committee commended the relief effort for the floods, which saw 7,000 properties flooded as the UK was hit by repeated storms and the wettest winter on record, they said investment in flood prevention was preferable to spending on clean-up.

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Met Office warns flash flooding in the South West is on the increase

Boscastle flooded in 2004 Credit: ITV West Country

The Met Office has warned that flash flooding could become more common in the South of England by the end of the century.

Forecasters say there will be an increase in 'localised extreme events', such as the floods in Boscastle in August 2004, where rain fell over an eight hour period and caused extreme flooding in the Cornish village.

The Met Office have also predicted that the flooding will be accompanied by summer heat waves by 2040.

Ex-offenders helping to tackle flooding

A project pioneered in Cornwall in which ex-offenders to help protect communities at risk of flooding is set to be rolled-out across England.

The project which began in Lostwithiel could be rolled out across England Credit: ITV News West Country

The ex-offenders work through the autumn and early winter to clear leaves from drains in South East Cornwall. Blockages are one of the major causes of flooding.

Blockages are one of the major causes of flooding Credit: ITV News West Country

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Somerset willow growers playing catchup after floods

Farms and businesses on the Somerset Levels are still trying to get back to normal after the floods over the winter. Now the water has been pumped away, the recovery effort begins.

It's the heart of the English willow industry, producing 'withies' for basket making. Growers are working hard to harvest their crops, which should have been cut months ago.

Bob Cruwys reports:

Canal to be reopened

Spectators gather for grand reopening of the Grand Western Canal in Halberton near Tiverton. Credit: ITV News West Country

The Grand Western Canal and towpath will officially re-open today more than a year after its banks were breached during a severe winter storm.

Narrow boats preparing for the grand reopening of the Grand Western Canal in Halberton near Tiverton. Credit: ITV News West Country
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