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Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 December 2007, 10:33 GMT
Drainage failure 'caused floods'
The collapsed bridge in Ludlow
Ludlow's collapsed Burway Bridge was not identified as 'at risk'
Early reports into England's summer floods suggest that 80% of the flooding was caused by "urban drainage failure", according to an MP.

The comments by Ludlow MP Philip Dunne followed a report on Monday calling for "urgent action" on flood prevention.

The Conservative MP, who sits on the public accounts committee, criticised the Environment Agency for failing to protect homeowners.

He said it had not identified Ludlow's collapsed Burway bridge as "at risk".

'Not greatly improved'

Mr Dunne said early reports showed that the floods were mainly caused by drainage failure, but said there was "little evidence of co-ordination between the Environment Agency and other organisations on how to manage the impact of such volumes of rainfall".

"The condition of flood defences has not greatly improved over five years despite a 40% increase in funding," Mr Dunne said.

The Commons committee has been examining how well the agency carries out its role to protect people from the risk of flooding.

Mr Dunne said: "The Agency was not able to show that its teams were deployed efficiently or that they had focused their resources on high risk flood defence systems".

He also criticised the Environment Agency for completing just six of the 68 flood management plans on time.

Temporary bridge

He said the plan for the Upper River Severn had been completed but "did not identify the Burway Bridge in Ludlow, swept away in the June floods, as a risk".

The Environment Agency said: "Within six months, we will be able to provide an indication of many locations that may be at high risk of surface water flooding".

Ludlow's Burway Bridge fell into the River Corve in June, severing a gas main, after water levels rose 5ft 3in (1.6m) in three hours.

A temporary bridge, across the B4361, will be in place until April 2008, when work is expected to begin on building a permanent replacement.



VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Flood victim tries to rebuild home



SEE ALSO
'No improvement' in flood defence
18 Dec 07 |  UK Politics
Collapsed bridge replaced in 2008
11 Jul 07 |  Shropshire
Bridge may take month to replace
27 Jun 07 |  Shropshire
Bridge collapse severs gas main
26 Jun 07 |  Shropshire
Floods shut part of steam railway
22 Jun 07 |  Hereford/Worcs

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