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Flooding lessons 'must be learned'

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A review into the effectiveness of Cumbria's emergency flooding plan, which was put in to practise during November's heavy downpour, has said lessons need to be learned.

The plan was devised in 2005 following a bout of serious rainfall, and put into action last November after a warning from the Environment Agency. However, the severity of the floods led to many defences being overwhelmed.

Council bosses have now reviewed the strategy, saying it needs to take climate change and the potential severity of future flooding into account.

The review concluded: "Emergency plans had been well tested, however, the scale of the flooding was beyond what was predicted. Emergency plans now need to be revisited to take account of climate change and severity of the flooding."

The extent of the floods last year has also led many homeowners to review their home insurance policies, as more than 1,300 properties in Cumbria were affected by the flooding and a further 1,000 left without power.

Parts of the county were devastated, and bridges and other infrastructure were ultimately overcome by the highest level of rainfall measured in England since records began. More than one foot (314mm) of rain fell in 24 hours.

The town of Cockermouth was particularly badly hit, with its Main Street shopping area eight feet underwater at one point. Nearby Workington was cut off as the collapse of Northside bridge and closure of Calva bridge forced motorists to make lengthy detours.

© Press Association 2010