A £38 million flood defence scheme in Carlisle could help drive down the cost of home insurance by reducing flood risk.
Almost 3,500 homes and businesses will benefit from the work, which has just been finished ahead of schedule.
Last November, parts of the new defence stopped 800 properties being flooded when the River Eden burst its banks, preventing around £48 million worth of damage.
The new scheme was already in development prior to severe flooding of the city in 2005, which claimed the lives of three people and affected 1,800 properties. It includes 10km of raised defences, 30 flood gates, two new automated pumping stations, two raised footbridges and 1,500m of improved cycleway.
Speaking at the opening of the new defence, Environment Agency chairman Lord Chris Smith said: "This £38 million scheme, which has been completed almost a year ahead of schedule, will reduce the risk of flooding to almost 3,500 homes and businesses in Carlisle.
"It is essential that we continue to defend communities, businesses and the economy from the risk of flooding and coastal erosion. The Environment Agency has completed over 116 flood defence schemes in the past two years, providing increased protection to over 77,500 extra properties."
© Press Association 2010