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Last Updated: Monday, 3 November, 2003, 17:36 GMT
Authorities failed flooded homeowners
An elderly woman is rescued from her flooded home during Berkshire's floods in January 2003
The flooding brought widespread disruption to Berkshire
A government body failed to do enough to warn people of floods which caused widespread damage in Berkshire earlier this year, a new report says.

The Environment Agency is accused of letting down riverside homeowners after technical failures showed it was not equipped to cope with the severe conditions.

An urgent review was now necessary to prevent similar destruction in the future, the report said.

The Environment Agency said its has learned valuable lessons from the floods, to enable better warnings this winter.

I do accept that some of our technology let us down and let the public down
Environment Agency spokesman
The report, by the River Thames Society, said: "A major criticism of the 2003 floods, as far as the Environment Agency was concerned, was the lack of adequate information and warning.

"An urgent review is required, and better co-ordination with other authorities, such as councils and the police, should be planned."

Sir Anthony Durant, chair of the society, said: "They [the Environment Agency] have been taking steps since the floods happened and I have a feeling our pressure has had something to do with it.

"If you have warnings you can use sandbags, you can use boards, you can move valuables from your ground floors to upper floors, move your car away if it is in a garage that's vulnerable to flood.

"There are lots of things you can do if you know it is going to happen."

Craig Woodhouse, of the Environment Agency, said: "Our own investigation of what happened during the floods indicates we did get the information out through various channels but I do accept that some of our technology let us down and let the public down.

"We have done a lot to reinforce that technology and do as Sir Anthony Durant has said.

"We have actually put in place better ways of people communicating with us so they can get more accurate information on floods when they happen."

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