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MPs slam flood defences

Flood defences in England have 'not improved markedly' and some remain in a poor condition despite a 40 per cent increase in funding for the Environment Agency over five years, a Commons committee claimed today.

The Public Accounts Committee said the flooding across the Midlands, Yorkshire and Humberside in June this year and in the South West the following month, demonstrated the "vulnerability" of key infrastructure.

The committee said that in 2007-08 just 33 new defence schemes are expected to start, with 84 per cent of funds spent on existing schemes.

The Tory chairman of the committee, Edward Leigh said: "No system of flood defences can provide 100 per cent protection against flooding.

"But that's far from saying we should be content with defences whose condition is not the best possible.

"The chickens came home to roost last June with the dangerous and destructive floods in large parts of the country.”