Government plans to recruit hundreds more specialist flood management engineers were praised by the insurance industry this week.

The Environment Agency, Defra and the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) have joined forces in a bid to attract 700 new recruits to flood and coastal engineering in a bid to prevent a repeat of the Carlisle and Boscastle flooding.

Nigel Barham from Cunningham Lindsey project management services said: "We certainly welcome this initiative and feel it is evidence that the issue of flood management is being taken seriously."

It is estimated that property damage from floods could soar to £3.2bn a year without additional protection measures.Barham said: "Climate change, combined with the building of houses on vulnerable areas like the Thames Gateway, has increased flood risk. The number of civil engineering graduates has declined sharply in recent years, so this initiative is very necessary."