26 October 2001

Flood defences weak

MORE floods are likely unless the government helps improve defences, warns a report by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

Recent figures indicate that this year has been the wettest since records began. Flood warnings were in place on 22 rivers in south-east England and East Anglia this week after severe rain. Cambridge received 90mm of rain in less than 24 hours compared with an October average of 60mm.

Flood management has become too complex and must be radically overhauled, says RICS. It wants an urgent review of flood control and prevention measures. This is especially important as all the indicators show winter floods are set to be repeated with greater frequency in the future, the organisation said.

More than 1m hectares of agricultural land, worth about £7bn, is directly at risk from flooding, according to RICS analysts. At least half of this area lies below sea level, relying upon pumping to maintain productivity. &#42

Not again… Cambs farmer john Pickard and sons, Ross and Luke, survey their wheat.