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Flood simulator to test defences

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The devastating effects of a flood will be recreated and tested in a cutting-edge simulator that will assess products designed to defend homes, businesses and people from flooding.

The unit has a replica living room within a large tank, roughly half the size of a football pitch. The Environment Agency and HR Wallingford have developed the new Oxfordshire facility, to test flood defence products against a new industry standard.

Thousands of gallons of water are flooded into the replica building, for the purposes of the test, to simulate a severe flood and test out the flood products. Up for grabs is the BSI Kitemark, which is hoped will give householders, organisations and businesses greater confidence in the flood products they use to protect their property.

Robert Runcie, the Environment Agency's Director of Flood and Coastal Risk Management, said: "The new testing facility and industry standard will help those at risk make informed choices and have confidence in the flood products they buy, as well as encouraging new product development."

He said one in six homes across England and Wales were at risk of flooding, and the number was likely to rise with climate change.

© Press Association 2010