The Environment Agency (EA) claims that an estimated 96,000 properties have been protected and as part of the EA’s response to flooding caused by Storm Babet. Further, twenty high volume pumps and five small volume pumps were deployed across several sites. The EA’s flood warning service sent out over 300,000 messages by email, telephone and text during Storm Babet.

But EA officials are to investigate why local flood defences failed during Storm Babet last week at Horncastle, Lincolnshire – it’s the third incident in the UK this October in which officials reportedly failed to act quickly enough to protect homes and businesses.

Some 80 homes flooded at Horncastle after a month’s worth of rain fell in 24 hours. Defra has confirmed that homes and shops near the River Bain flooded after “a sluice gate within the [flood-alleviation] scheme did not automatically operate as it should”.

More than 4,000 English flood defences ‘almost useless’

An investigation by Unearthed and The Guardian made Freedom of Information requests asking for EA data on the condition of England’s so-called high-consequence flood defences. Last year, the agency ranked 4,200 defences – 7 per cent of the total – in poor or very poor condition. Just 3 per cent of defences are reported to be in “very good” condition.

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