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Flood defence schemes to start early

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Plans to revitalise the economy will see the construction of £20 million-worth of flood defences brought forward by a year, it has been announced.

The projects are designed to protect 27,000 properties in England which are at risk of flooding, the Environment Agency (EA) said.

Under a proposal set out by the Government in this month's Pre-Budget Report, schemes will be brought forward from 2010-2011 to 2009-2010 if final approval is given in February.

The EA said the number of jobs created by the schemes will be determined at that time.

Projects given the provisional go-ahead to start work in 2009 include the construction of two pumping stations and a replacement of a tidal sluice in Barking and Dagenham. This scheme will reduce the risk of river and tidal flooding of homes, businesses and infrastructure in the Thames Estuary.

EA chief executive Dr Paul Leinster said: "This is good news for a number of communities at risk of flooding, as the Government's announcement will enable us to start some schemes more quickly.

"Climate change will mean that the number of people at high risk from flooding could rise from 1.5 million to 3.5 million by 2080 and we need to do everything we can to protect homes and communities."

© Press Association 2008