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Flood risk still rising despite record spend

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FLOOD RISK across England and Wales is increasing despite unprecedented spending on risk management and defences, the Environment Agency said last week.

'Changes in UK weather patterns mean heavier downpours and stormier seas. We can invest more in managing flood risks but we cannot eliminate floding altogether, ' says the Agency in its annual State of the Environment report.

The Agency also says that by the end of this financial year, £564M will have been spent on flooding, £150M more than in 2004/05.

The report urges the government and local authorities to do more to prevent inappropriate development in the floodplain and promote use of sustainable urban drainage systems (SUDS) to reduce urban run-off.

Flooding consultant and ICE vice president Jean Venables agreed that SUDS could play a vital role in reducing flood risk, but that high maintenance costs prevented many clients from choosing systems like soak ways and surface water detention ponds.

'I feel that we will only move forward with SUDS if regulations are made, ' she said.

The report also covers other indicators such as climate change, air quality, wildlife, water quality, waste and land quality.

It states that Britain is failing to meet its domestic targets for cutting carbon gas emissions by 20% by 2010, but that it will meet the Kyoto target of a 12.5% reduction by 2012.

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