Flood warning puts Kent village of Yalding on further alert

Yalding residents
Image caption Yalding is under water for the third time in a matter of weeks

The Kent village of Yalding is facing further flooding as Met Office figures show much of southern England had its wettest January since records began.

Up to and including 28 January, the South East and central southern England had 175.2mm (6.9in) of rainfall.

Residents at the Little Venice Country Park, next to the River Beult, fear they may have to leave their homes again after levels rose on Thursday.

Two flood warnings have been issued for the Rivers Beult and Ouse.

Flood alerts are in place covering areas such as Medway, Dartford, Canterbury and Crawley in West Sussex.

The Environment Agency said there was an increasing risk of flooding extending into the weekend.

'Groundwater high'

Locations likely to be affected include Smarden, Headcorn, Hunton, Cheveney, and Yalding.

Spokesman Andrew Pearce said the Nailbourne stream, which flows from Lyminge, through the Elham Valley, was also at risk.

"Groundwater levels are very high, and those streams that are fed by ground water are now facing problems," he said.

More than 600 properties were flooded as storms swept across Kent on Christmas Eve, with Yalding one of the worst-affected villages.

Residents have been calling for improved flood defences, with the parish council wanting the Leigh Barrier on the River Medway to be raised and a new River Beult barrier and reservoir built at Stile Bridge.

Chairman Geraldine Brown said the work would cost about £50m.

The weather is also causing problems on the railways in East Sussex, with a landslip closing the line at Battle.

A further landslip at Crowhurst means there will be no trains between Hastings and Robertsbridge on Friday morning.

Southeastern said that another storm forecast for Friday night would cause further disruption.

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Media captionYalding parish council chairwoman Geraldine Brown speaks to the BBC's Yvette Austin: ''We have got to get some flood defences in place''

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