WASHED AWAY: The Environment Agency has stepped up its efforts to repair flood defences that were damaged last winter Photo by Adrian Slegg
More than £3 million has been spent to restore defences which engineers hope will provide better protection for residents and reduce the risk to communities if similar weather returns over the next few months.THE Environment Agency has stepped up its efforts to check and repair flood defences in Mole Valley and across Surrey after thousands of homes and businesses were decimated by wet weather last winter.
More than 2,000 defences have been checked for damage and so far ten repair projects across Surrey and the Thames Valley have been completed, including maintenance to river banks and channel capacity.
Last week, a report was presented to Surrey County Council’s cabinet detailing the damage caused to households during last December, January and February.
At least 1,400 properties were affected, with many more thought to have gone unreported due to insurance fears.
As well as the permanent repairs which are taking place, the Environment Agency is also working with local authorities to identify any temporary defences which can be installed in time for the winter period, which could protect communities.
Operations manager Barry Russell said: “The Environment Agency’s flood defences were put to the test last winter. Our teams have worked hard over the past few months repairing damage and maintaining flood defences to ensure they continue to protect people.
“We have seen the devastating impact flooding can have on communities throughout last year. That’s why it is crucial we regularly maintain and repair flood defences to keep them working properly.
“Environment Agency teams will continue to inspect and repair defences over the coming months to ensure they are maintained and ready to reduce the risk of flooding.”
The agency has estimated one in every six houses in the UK is susceptible to flooding, with both Dorking and Leatherhead identified as “high risk” because of the two towns’ proximity to the River Mole.
Surrey County Council has already identified hundreds of millions of pounds which will be needed to complete flood defences, including £240 million for the Surrey section of the River Thames and general repairs to rivers and ditches.
A flood warning for the River Mole was issued on November 23, but rescinded two days later.