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The Environment Agency is launching a flood-awareness campaign today after research found that nearly half the peop...
The Environment Agency is launching a flood-awareness campaign today after research found that nearly half the people living in flood zones did not know they were at risk, reported BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

Ten thousand homes and businesses were flooded across England and Wales less than 12 months ago. If water levels rise again this year, up to five million people in England and Wales are thought to be at risk.

From today a national advertising campaign will remind everyone of the destruction that floods can cause. Some families are still unable to return to their homes after last year's large scale flooding. Yet research showed that only one person in 10 living in a flood-prone area took any action to prepare against the same thing happening again.

With high tides predicted during the coming week, the agency's 24-hour hotline and website will advise people how to prepare for floods, together with maps showing which areas are at risk.

Environment Agency chairman John Harman, interviewed for the Today programme, said he was concerned at the way the climate was changing, as evidenced by periods of much heavier, sharper rainfall. He stressed that the agency did not decide how much to spend on flood defences or where to spend it - that was decided by a combination of government grant and local authority decisions.

* for full details of the Environment Agency's announcements today see LGCnet.

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