The Environment Agency has launched a £2 million campaign to raise awareness of the danger flooding can cause and offer advice on how to minimise consequences.

The centrepiece of the campaign is Floodline – a new telephone information service for the public.

People can call on 0845-988-1188 and receive advice on how to protect their property and get the latest flood warnings for their area.

Over a million homes (see table right) are at risk from flooding and the Agency's campaign provides factfiles and tips to make simple advance preparations that could reduce damage.

A number of high-profile celebrities are backing the campaign including Michael Buerk, Michael Parkinson and Stephen Fry.

Meanwhile, the ABI urged householders to make sure they are prepared against the risk of flooding this week as the nation enters the anniversary of last year's October floods.

ABI's risk reduction advice includes:
- On flood alert move everything that can be moved to upstairs rooms.
- Buildings may become unsafe following floods.
- Do not use electricity or gas or drink milk until the all-clear is given.

ABI director general Tony Baker said: "While no one can control the weather, knowing what to do if your house is hit by flooding can significantly reduce not just the damage but the trauma and inconvenience flooding brings."

FLOOD FACTS
1.3 million homes and businesses in England and Wales lie directly in the flood plain.
There was £400m worth of damage caused during the October floods last year alone.
£118m was paid out by insurers on domestic flood claims in 1998. This compares to £181m for burst pipes, £364m for storm damage and £261m for fire.
In the first six months of this year flood claims have totalled £23m.