6th December 17:00 Up-date: Reduced risk of flooding to east coast

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More than 800,000 properties in England protected by flood defences

Following the most serious coastal tidal surge for over 60 years, the flood risk to the east coast of England is now much reduced, the Environment Agency has said.

Around 1,400 properties are estimated to have flooded in the past 24 hours however defences have protected at least 800,000 homes and businesses in England.

The Thames Barrier was closed to protect London against the highest tide since the structure was completed in 1984. The Environment Agency operated numerous other assets and barriers along the coast including at Hull, Goole, Great Yarmouth and Colne in Essex. The £23million Warrington flood defence scheme was operated for the first time yesterday to reduce the flood risk to 1,500 properties from the River Mersey.

The combination of the tidal surge, strong winds, large waves and high tides led to record sea levels along many parts of the coast, some of which were higher than those seen during the devastating floods of January 1953. Sea levels at Hull peaked last night at a record 5.8 metres, with Dover seeing levels of 4.7 metres – the highest recorded since 1905.

Environment Agency teams and contractors are out in force across England to inspect and repair damaged sections of walls, banks and other assets.

The number of flood warnings continues to reduce. There are currently (as of 1700) 12 severe flood warnings, 63 flood warnings and 38 flood alerts in place.

Dr Paul Leinster, Environment Agency Chief Executive, said: “Our thoughts remain with those people who have been affected by flooding. The number of flood warnings is now reducing. However, Environment Agency teams remain on the ground to check flood risk management assets including barriers and to monitor sea levels.

“We estimate that at least 800,000 homes and businesses have been protected by flood schemes in the past 24 hours. Flood risk management assets, including the Thames and Hull Barriers, have protected thousands of homes and businesses from sea levels higher in some places than those that occurred during the devastating floods of 1953.

“Advances in weather and flood forecasting mean that early warnings of the tidal surge were given to emergency services, homes and businesses, allowing vital time to prepare.”

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