Environment Agency
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Over one million properties now receiving direct flood warnings

The number of properties signed up to the national flood warning system in England and Wales has broken the one million mark for the first time, the Environment Agency announced yesterday.

From the end of this month, the organisation will start to issue localised flood warnings to an extra 160,000 properties with a telephone landline at risk of river or sea flooding – taking the total number of properties signed up to 1.1 million.

The extension of the organisation’s flood warning service was one of the key recommendations from the independent Pitt Review into the summer 2007 floods. The Environment Agency is also continuing to expand the number of areas in England and Wales that are eligible for its service.

The automatic registration of more properties at risk of flooding is the latest move to improve flood risk information to the public.

A new iPhone app ‘Flood Alert’, which uses live data from the Environment Agency to provide users with real time updates on nearby flood warnings, was launched by Halcrow earlier this month. Further applications for other smart phones are being developed by other third parties.

Last year, the Environment Agency launched a service allowing householders and businesses to monitor rising river levels during a potential flood. The service at http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/riverlevels shows updated river and sea levels at over 1,700 locations across England and Wales.

Environment Agency Acting Director of Flood and Coastal Risk, David Rooke, said:

“Our free flood warning service now provides advanced warnings to over a million homes and business, giving more people vital time to get prepared for flooding, and by doing so, protecting lives and property.

“One in six homes in England and Wales is at risk of flooding. We urge everyone to check whether their property is at risk by visiting the Environment Agency’s website and taking steps to prepare, such as looking at ways to make properties more resistant to floods.”

Environment Minister, Richard Benyon said:

“I am delighted that so many people are now signed up to receive alerts. An early warning will give people time to prepare for potential flooding whether that is by moving furniture upstairs, checking on elderly neighbours or preparing a grab bag in case evacuation is advised. The extra time gained by an early warning can help keep people safe during a flood and minimise damage to property.”

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