Britain's changing climate is making it a hot-spot for flooding according to the Environment Agency.

Property, land and other assets with a total value of £214bn lie in floodplains in England and Wales.

The Environment Agency, which is responsible for issuing flood warnings, said the present year's rainfall figures were in line with predictions of heavier rainfall becoming three to four times more common in England and Wales.

The figures also suggest that annual rainfall will increase by 10% and that there will be more intense local storms.

This year, April was the wettest month since records began in 1766 and the May bank holiday saw rivers in the south-east breaking their banks.

A spokesman for the Association of British Insurers said the real problem is greater unpredictability of the weather. He said: “There has been an increase in unpredictable incidents of severe weather generally.”

He cited the extensive flooding two years ago in Northampton – an area with no history of flooding.