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DEALING WITH THE FLOODS

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The Birmingham Post (p15) carries a report on how authorities such as the environment agency cope with large-scale ...
The Birmingham Post (p15) carries a report on how authorities such as the environment agency cope with large-scale flooding such as that seen last Easter and this weekend.

Lessons have been learned from the Easter floods and the records made then have been incoporated into the agency's computorised model of how water levels are likely to rise during the severe weather.

The agency has also been addressing the issue of raising public awareness in the light of an independent report, published earlier this month, which said that not only were no warnings issued in many cases over Easter, the warning system was, in any case, confusing.

With 1.3 million flood-prone properties in the country, the agency's flood-defence system is geared towards protecting homes as much as advising householders on what to do if the worst happens.

John Fitzsimmons, West Midlands regional flood defence manager, said: 'Through regulation and commenting on planning applications, we try to avoid new problems being created. We don't want to see any more development in flood plains. We also have flood defences in place.'

There will, however, still be occasions when nature will take even the experts by surprise. Mr Fitzsimmons said: 'What we need to do is match public awareness with what is technologically possible. There's a gap at the moment. There's a feeling that whatever nature throws at us, we'll get a timely warning to everyone, but that will never be achievable.'

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