The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) vice president and flooding expert, professor David Balmforth, has called for “appropriate levels of investment and guidance to be put in place” for local communities at risk of flooding.

Balmforth said: “The events over the last week serve as a stark reminder that we will continue to face the consequences of severe rainfall until action is taken to ensure we are more flood resilient.

“The impacts of flooding are far reaching – it afflicts communities, businesses and sadly takes lives. It also leads to the failure of critical infrastructure networks such as power and transport, further restricting access to basic services when they’re needed most” added Balmforth.

The ICE says measures to deal with flooding should include communicating more effectively to those at risk, building the physical resilience of communities by making property and infrastructure more resistant, and where new development is proposed for flood risk areas ensuring resilience is at the “heart of the design – not an afterthought”.

The proposals follow weeks of heavy rainfall which has led to flooding in many parts of the country, particularly along the coasts. As of 1600 Thursday, the Environment Agency issued 12 severe flood warnings for coastal communities as strong winds combined with high tides and large waves early this morning (Friday 3rd January).

Meanwhile, media reports have claimed that the head of the Environment Agency, Paul Leinster, has warned that flood risk management will be hit by Government budget cuts. According to the reports, the EA will need to cut 15% of its staff with many coming from the flooding team.

Leigh Stringer

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