Environment minister warns risk of flooding remains high

 
Kate McCann
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MORE flooding could be on the way this week as the recent bad weather looks set to continue, the environment minister has warned.

Owen Patterson gave a statement in the House of Commons yesterday and warned residents to remain vigilant after bad weather claimed the lives of seven people over the Christmas period. The minister, who chaired an emergency meeting of Cobra yesterday, told MPs that the Thames barrier has been raised nine times in the past five days to deal with tidal surges.

The government has come in for criticism over cuts to the budget for flood defences. Chair of the environment, food and rural affairs committee Anne McIntosh MP said the floods served to “reinforce concerns about cuts to the Defra budget and how these will be realised.” She added that 1,700 jobs at the Environment Agency are set to be lost in the next 12 months.