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LGA wants urgent flood action

Town hall chiefs warned the Government today to speed up spending on flood defences or face a possible repeat of this summer's rains.

In its official submission to the Pitt Review into the floods which hit Yorkshire and the Midlands in June and July, the Local Government Association called for the implementation of an action plan to reduce flood risk across the country.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown has promised to increase funding for flood prevention from £600 million to £800 million, but the money does not become fully available until 2010/11. This year's rain caused an estimated £3 billion worth of damage.

The organisation, which represents councils in England and Wales, recommended investment in flood defences and drainage systems; incentives for householders to take flood precautions; stronger requirements for utility companies to safeguard essential facilities like electricity substations and pumping stations; and tighter controls on building on flood-plains.

The chairman of the LGA's environment board, Paul Bettison, said: "Nobody wants to see a repeat of the carnage caused by last summer's floods, which ruined the lives of thousands of people and cost the economy billions of pounds.

"There is no guarantee we will not see a repeat of the heavy rainfall which led to that flooding, and so it is vital we start improving our systems and defences as soon as possible.

An interim report is expected by the end of this year.