With this in mind, the Environment Agency has issued advice on how best to deal with the aftermath including tips for businesses, farmers and householders who were affected.

Knowing what to do following is flood is, argues the agency, as important as being prepared beforehand.

Barbara Young, chief executive at the Environment Agency, said: “A flood in your property is a worrying and often frightening experience. When the floodwater has gone there is the additional distress of cleaning and repairing the damage it caused.

“We are now working with other organisations involved in the clean up operation to ensure householders, businesses and farmers are helped through this difficult time.

“We have produced a series of short guides providing basic advice on what actions you need to take. Once prepared with information, you can start to take control of your immediate situation.

“Having a plan will help you deal more effectively with the recovery period and get things back to normal.”

What to do with waste is likely to be high on the agenda during the clean-up, as is the risk – albeit small – of illness through infection and chemical contamination.

“We expect to see a significant increase in the amount of waste needing to be disposed of as a result of severe flooding.,” said Baroness Young.

“There is also likely to be disruption to normal waste collection and disposal arrangements. It’s important to make sure that all the waste from flooding is disposed of properly. Don’t let illegal waste carriers cash in on your misfortune.

“As well as making the current flooding problems worse, fly-tipping can also lead to longer-term environment damage in your local area. It also takes away business from the legitimate waste companies who operate to strict environmental standards.”

Businesses worried about waste are being advised to contact the Environmental Services Association for details of contractors who can deal with their specific requirements.

They are also being told that if they have problems with a particular type of waste, they can contact the EA on 08708 506 506 which is looking at ways in which certain waste streams from the flooding could potentially be turned into useful resources.

Farmers are also being advised on how to deal with their particular breed of flooding woes, and are being granted dispensations to dig emergency slurry pits, provided they meet certain environmental standards.

Sam Bond

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