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Environment Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 25th February 2013.

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Photo of Julian Sturdy Julian Sturdy Conservative, York Outer

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the response to the recent floods.

Photo of Richard Benyon Richard Benyon The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The Government is grateful for the response from our front-line emergency services, which were deployed around the clock, including during public holidays. The staff of the fire, ambulance, police and other rescue services, local authorities, the Environment Agency, the voluntary sector, and local communities worked tirelessly in response to the floods. The Flood Forecasting Centre consistently provided high-quality forecasting and was able to predict risks accurately, which enabled timely action to be taken on the ground.

The Environment Agency estimates over 22,000 properties were protected in England and Wales which would otherwise have flooded in December, through a combination of flood defences, maintenance work, storage basins and temporary defence measures. This is in addition to 183,000 between April and November. In the course of the flooding events last year, nationally held flood rescue assets were successfully deployed to support local partners across the country, including high volume pumps, boats and urban search and rescue assets.

Currently more than 97% of existing defences in high consequence areas are at or above their target condition and are expected to remain so within current budgets. The Environment Agency targets its maintenance to ensure that it meets any legal requirements and maximises the outcome in terms of reducing the risk of flooding.

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