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  1. National

Record flood investment 'helped protect 1.4m homes'

The environment minister Dan Rogerson said Government spending on flood defences has protected "1.4 million properties" from flooding.

Speaking on Good Morning Britain, Mr Rogerson justified the spending levels after an extra £270m was used in Somerset due to the "wettest winter on record."

  1. West Country (E)

Regular dredging must continue in Somerset say DEFRA committee

An influential committee of MPs says regular dredging of rivers on the Somerset Levels must continue if we're to avoid a repeat of last winter's floods.

The cross-party DEFRA select committee says regular maintenance is essential to protect homes, businesses and farmland. It says dredging is as important as building new defences, and calls for greater powers for local water boards.

MP Anne McIntosh, who chairs the committee, says the government should rely on local knowledge of people living on the Levels.

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  1. National

MPs: 'Ministers must take action now' over flooding

MPs have welcomed £270 million extra funding for tackling flooding that has been announced by the Government this year, but said £130 million of that had been reallocated from elsewhere in the Environment Department's budget, rather than being additional.

We have repeatedly called on the Government to increase revenue funding so that necessary dredging and watercourse maintenance can be carried out to minimise flood risk, yet funding for maintenance remains at a bare minimum.

Ministers must take action now to avoid a repeat of the devastation caused by the winter floods.

The Government needs to recognise the importance of regular maintenance work and put it on an equal footing with building new defences.

– Committee's chairwoman Anne McIntosh

Overall funding did not reflect the increased flood risk the country faced. Funding for maintenance work - a "Cinderella" area - needs to keep pace with the growing risk caused by more frequent extreme weather events and to look after an increasing number of flood defences being built, the MPs said.

They urged the Environment Department (Defra) to draw up fully-funded plans to address the current backlog of maintenance work, including routine dredging, as well as to maintain the growing numbers of man-made flood defences.

  1. National

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.

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.

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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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