New £72m flood plan unveiled to strengthen flood-prone Cumbria

Warwick Road Carlisle Image copyright PA
Image caption Thousands of homes and businesses were flooded in the county when a month's worth of rain fell in one day

A new plan to protect homes and businesses in Cumbria decimated by last December's floods has been unveiled.

More than £72m of government money is to be spent strengthening defences for 4,300 homes as well as improving reservoirs to hold more water.

The Environment Agency said the plan also included restoring peat bogs to hold water upstream for longer.

The Cumbria Flood Action Plan was unveiled by Floods Minister Rory Stewart.

Thousands of properties were battered by Storm Desmond in December, depositing a record month's worth of rain in just one day.

Environment chiefs consulted residents in Eden, Derwent and Kent about the best way to manage land above the villages to reduce the risk of flooding.

The Environment Agency's Flood Risk Manager, Andy Brown, said: "This action plan represents a step change in the way we manage flood risk in Cumbria.

"It sees local communities at the heart of the process, working with organisations to reduce flood risk along the length of Cumbrian river catchments, from the Fells to the coast."

Image caption Many streets in Carlisle were flooded when Storm Desmond hit the county

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