New maps show fewer homes at risk of surface flooding

But five million properties in England still at risk

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The Independent Online

Latest flood maps published today by the Environment Agency indicate a drop in the number of homes classed as at risk of surface water flooding.

Previous maps suggested that 3.8 million properties were in danger of suffering from surface water flooding -  when heavy rainfall overwhelms drainage systems - but improved mapping techniques has now reduced that figure to around 3 million. Around 35,000 properties were affected by surface water during the major floods of 2007.

Around 5 million properties are at risk of flooding in England, 2.4 million from rivers and sea and 3 million properties from surface water flooding. Some properties are at risk from both types of flooding.

Chief Executive of the Environment Agency, Dr Paul Leinster, said: "Last week’s storm surge brings into sharp focus how important it is that people know if they could be affected by flooding. Being prepared can save lives, homes, personal possessions and businesses. With one in six homes in England at risk of flooding we urge people to check if they are at risk, and sign up to free river and coastal flood warnings, by visiting the Environment Agency website."

However, Climate Campaigner Guy Shrubsole from Friends of the Earth  said: "Millions of homes across the UK are under threat from surface water flooding - and with scientists predicting more extreme rainfall as climate change takes hold, this number is set to rise.

"In the light of all the scientific evidence it is astonishing that the Environment Secretary's new flood insurance scheme fails to factor in risks from both surface water flooding and future climate change. MPs must take action by insisting that the Government fixes its flawed insurance scheme, invests properly in flood defences and does more to cut carbon emissions."