Environment Agency surveys areas affected by 2009 floods

Nearly half (47%) of households and businesses affected by last year’s Cumbrian floods have taken steps to protect their property from a similar disaster, according to the Environment Agency.

The agency’s figures, published on the anniversary of the floods, shows that 37% have made repairs to their homes or businesses to make them more resilient to flooding.

A quarter has made permanent structural changes to their property, while over (62 per cent) have signed up to the Environment Agency’s free flood warning advice service.

The EA figures follow a report by Cumbria County Council showing that the floods caused £276m worth of damage to the county.

EA chief executive Paul Leinster said: "We will continue to reduce flood risk by investing in defence schemes, but it is essential that people are all also better prepared, by signing up to the Environment Agency’s flood warning service and rebuilding damaged properties to make them more flood-proof.”

The EA has tarted work on a scheme to reduce flood risk to 42 properties in the Gote Road area of Cockermouth, the town worst affected by last year's floods. The agency is a is also conducting a £100,000 feasibility study to identify if a full flood alleviation scheme for Cockermouth can be justified on technical, economic and environmental grounds.