Agency issues report on flooding.

The Environment Agency has echoed the insurance industry’s calls for the government and key utility providers to provide better flood protection of critical infrastructure.

In its flood anniversary report, titled One year on – what have we done?, the government agency said that the summer 2007 floods showed how communities in England and Wales are susceptible to flooding.

Its report provided an update on its own achievements, including its completion of 34 new flood defences, which increased protection to more than 30,000 homes.

It has also signed up 73,000 more people to its flood warning system, and has been working with emergency responders to provide them with earlier flood warnings.

Also in its report, the agency said it had monitored and warned the public about possible flooding during tidal surges in November and March, and high river levels during January. It inspected 8,500 kilometres of flood defences along 23,500km of rivers and 2,000km of coast, and spent £5m on repairing those that were damaged, including those in Upton, Sedgeberrow and Grimsby.

Finally, it said it had been working with the Met Office to develop an extreme rainfall alert service

It has begun an initiative to show which areas are naturally vulnerable to surface water flooding, and intends to share the data with local authorities and utility companies. It has also been talking with the water industry about producing a national protocol for data-sharing.

In an earlier review published in December, the Environment Agency said: “We believe that our overall performance was satisfactory. However, we have identified lessons from the floods and made recommendations for those things we need to improve.”

Its recommendation for the government was to ensure there was a solid framework to manage flood risk. Recommendations for itself included improving its forecasting and warning service, and learning how to better communicate and use its results with its professional partners, businesses and the public.

The agency’s role is to warn people about the risk of flooding, and reduce the likelihood of flooding from rivers and the sea.