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Flood defences now at top of national agenda

JULIAN KNIGHT

Like me, you have probably been horrified by the terrible images of people's homes and lives being ruined by the inundation of water in the Somerset Levels.

I don't know enough about whether dredging is good or bad to comment, but I do know that for well over a decade the insurance industry has been warning that large swathes of the UK are practically an uninsurable risk such is the likelihood of flooding.

All the time, governments of all persuasions have got away with spending the bare minimum on defences.

Now that we have seen a prolonged flood event – where people wonder if they will ever be able to occupy their homes again – I hope this may prove a defining moment when we collectively grasp the major implications of what rising river and sea levels and the building on flood plains actually mean for our way of life.

In 2014, it is unacceptable that we allow the water to take parts of our country.

Flood management and defences have to be moved to the top of our collective national priorities – which is something the insurers have been saying for years.

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