Flood repairs 'bring peace of mind'
12:08am Monday 21st April 2014 in © Press Association 2014
Flood protection has been restored to over 100,000 homes damaged by extreme winter weather.
The Environment Agency (EA) said it had repaired 350 flood defences to ensure protection for 115,000 property owners affected by the wettest winter on record.
Members of the armed forces joined inspectors from the EA to take stock of flood damage across the country over a period of six weeks.
Repairs have been completed in Weymouth, where sea defences were washed away by stormy seas during January and February, and also at Greatham Creek in Teesside, where flood waters ripped a 50m breach in the sea defence embankment.
Beaches along the Lincolnshire coast have also had their dune systems repaired to restore protection to over 20,000 properties.
Dr Paul Leinster, chief executive of the EA, said the protection would provide "peace of mind" to many flood-hit residents.
He said: "Many of the flood risk management assets damaged in the extreme weather since December have already been repaired, restoring protection, and peace of mind, to many communities across the country.
"But there is still much more to do, and thanks to the completed inspections we now have a full picture of the condition of all the flood risk management assets across the country. We have prioritised the most urgent repairs."
The EA said that over 650 flood management assets have repairs planned or under way, to give protection to a further 180,000 properties across England.
Floods Minister, Dan Rogerson, said the Environment Agency would be provided with an extra £270 million to maintain the defences.
"Our flood defences took a battering over the winter but we are getting on with the job of repairing them," said the MP.
"We want to see our flood defences back up to full working conditions which is why we have provided the Environment Agency with an additional £270 million to fix and maintain them over the next two years."
In flood-hit Kent, the EA and the Ministry of Defence have been working to stabilise affected beaches. T he storm hit Denge frontage near Camber saw emergency works to shore up the defences and reduce the risk of flooding to thousands of homes across the Romney Marsh area.
Over 40,000 tonnes of shingle was returned along this stretch of the coastline.
Mark Francois, Minister for the Armed Forces, said: "Military personnel have played a vital role in flood relief efforts alongside counterparts from local authorities, emergency services and other Government departments. We are proud to be able to make a contribution and will remain on hand to provide assistance where necessary."
Shadow environment secretary Maria Eagle said: "The recent floods were a tragedy for many local communities yet the problems were made much worse because David Cameron's Government failed to prepare and protect against climate change and they failed to learn the lessons of earlier floods.
"The Tory-led Government cut funding for flood protection when they came to power in 2010 and have been forced to restore some of that funding to cope with the current crisis. That short-termism has cost the country dearly as they will end up spending more in the long term to protect our flood defences for decades to come."