Preventing floods is a worldwide challenge, says Blair

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The Independent Online

More flooding and severe weather is expected in Britain unless international measures are taken to tackle "freak climate changes", the Prime Minister said yesterday.

More flooding and severe weather is expected in Britain unless international measures are taken to tackle "freak climate changes", the Prime Minister said yesterday.

Tony Blair told MPs at Prime Minister's Question Time that improvements to flood defences were only part of the answer to tackling severe weather conditions.

He said the international community would have to take "difficult decisions on climate change" if more flooding was to be prevented. "This is a problem," he said. "I'm afraid it looks as if this is not going to go away in the next few years.

"These floods have been the worst for 50 years, in some cases, 100 years. We have to put in the short-term measures necessary, flood defences and so on. Then we have to take at international level some of the difficult decisions perhaps ducked for too long about some of the issues of climate change."

Charles Kennedy, the Liberal Democrat leader, asked why the Government had not acted on a report by the Agriculture Ministry five months ago, which called for "urgent" flood prevention work.

"Had they acted earlier and with greater alacrity, some of the worst effects could have been avoided," Mr Kennedy said.

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