Though the Board welcomed the recent announcement by Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott of an additional £51 million (see related story), it stated that as the money is to be spread over three years, and will be subject to the normal bidding and prioritising criteria, projects may still be underfunded.

According to the Agency, considerable emergency work has been undertaken to restore damaged flood defences, but this could not prevent the recent flooding in already affected communities. Both the emergency work and the need for matching funding for the £51 million would place pressure on local authorities, said the Agency.

The Board stressed the importance of taking account of the needs and concerns of flood affected communities and those at risk over the remainder of the winter. At the time of publication, thirty-six flood warnings were in force in Southwest and Southern England, East Anglia, the Thames catchment and the Midlands, but none in Wales, and North Eastern and North Western England, and there were no severe flood warnings in force.

The Environment Agency’s Floodline number for public information is: 0845 988 1188.

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