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Engineers call for more investment in flood defences

ICE South East England has called for more investment in flood defences and maintenance to protect infrastructure, homes and businesses.

Latest figures show that around 540 properties across England and Wales have flooded since Wednesday 19 December. In that time the Environment Agency has sent over 115,000 warnings to people at risk of flooding.

Flood defences have protected more than 21,600 properties across England and Wales, and the ICE wants more money spent on widening protection.

“The events over the last few weeks serve as a stark reminder that Britain will continue to face the consequences of severe rainfall until action is taken to ensure we are more flood resilient,” said ICE South East England director John Laverty.

“The impacts of flooding are far reaching - it afflicts communities, homes, businesses and sadly takes lives. It also often leads to the failure of critical infrastructure networks such as power and transport, further restricting access to basic services when they’re needed most,” he said. “The often long-term effect on businesses is damaging the UK economy as a whole.

“ICE South East England believes that local communities need to be able adopt a wider range of measures that are not solely reliant on conventional flood defences, but this requires the appropriate levels of funding and guidance to be in place,” he said. “Lead Local Flood Authorities who now have responsibility for flooding must be properly supported to deliver this.”

“The Environment Agency itself states that every £1 invested in flood risk, returns around £8 worth of benefit,” he said. “Adopting a diverse range of solutions will improve our resilience, and ensure these benefits are realised.”

Such measures need to include improved maintenance of drainage ditches and storm drains so they can perform their function effectively as well as investment in major projects, he said.

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