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West Country flood defences still not repaired

Nearly half of the flood defences damaged during last winter’s storms have not yet been repaired.

The Environment Agency has completed 194 of 344 projects, which will in total cost £53M, a Freedom of Information Request by the Western Morning News has revealed.

The Agency said that it is “on track to restore flood protection to communities” where flood defences were damaged, but that this would include “contingency measures” rather than permanent defences.

Some areas of south west England were devastated by the floods during the winter of 2013/14, notably the Somerset Levels and the railway at Dawlish in Devon, leading to Prime Minister David Cameron making a ‘money no object’ pledge on repair work.

The Environment Agency response to the Western Morning News said: “As of October 6, 2014, 194 (56%) of the 344 projects have been completed with work to the remaining projects making good progress.

“By October 31, no communities will be at an increased flood risk compared to the pre-winter 2013/14 situation.

“Repairs to the damaged flood defences will have been completed or appropriate contingency arrangements will be in place.”

Areas with “contingency” projects underway include: Newquay, Penzance and St Ives in Cornwall; Plymouth, Ilfracombe and Dartmouth in Devon; and Muchelney and the River Sowy on the Somerset Levels.

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