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New flood action plans due out

THE ENVIRONMENT Agency will in two weeks publish new plans for dealing with flood emergencies, in response to an independent report criticising its handling of the Easter floods in the Midlands.

The publication will follow serious flooding in Wales last weekend which killed 12 people and caused hundreds of millions of pounds worth of damage.

Professor Edmund Penning-Rowsell, head of the University of Middlesex's Flood Hazard Research Centre said: 'There is still too much emphasis on forecast and not enough on warning. The Environment Agency is working hard to improve the situation but it is still not working hard enough.'

An independent report carried out after the Easter floods made several recom-

mendations for the agency's operation, particularly its approach to flood prediction and warning.

It also referred to possible changes in design criteria for flood defences to cope with the increasing frequency of flooding inland and around the coast.

Penning-Rowsell this week called for flood plain development to be banned. 'The priority must be to prevent houses being built in vulnerable areas. The agency needs to be given more powers to object,' he said.

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