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High weekend tides to test flood defences

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TIDES EXPECTED to be the highest in the UK for 20 years this weekend will present a rare opportunity to test the effectiveness of the country's flood defences, experts said this week.

High tides predicted along the coast of Britain this weekend, will expose poorly performing flood defences where the Environment Agency needs to act, said Peter Brett Associates Partner Ben Mitchell.

More high tides are expected on 7 and 10 October.

'It's not often you get an event like this that you know is coming and you can be ready for, ' said Mitchell. 'It's a great opportunity to learn where there are gaps in our flood defence system. There should be monitoring systems in advance to ensure that everything is working.' The Environment Agency confi med that it would be watching the performance of its flood defences very closely this weekend.

'We will continue to monitor sea level rises and help the Government make decisions about the long-term sustainability of flood risk management on the coast, ' said a spokesman.

But the Agency said that high tides this weekend would not cause major floods as tidal levels were only predicted to be 40mm higher than usual as weather conditions are expected to be relatively calm.

'We are only likely to experience problems if the high tides happen at the same time as adverse weather like strong winds, storm surges and waves, associated with a low pressure system, ' the spokesman added.

But he pointed out that the Agency was ready to if there were floods.

'The high tides should pass with no consequences. But at this stage, we can't say whether there will definately be no flooding. If the worst happens, the Environment Agency and the emergency services will initiate tried and tested flood incident management procedures.'

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