ALMOST 8,000 homes and businesses were flooded in 2012, as the UK was battered by repeated heavy rain, storms and floods.
Defences protected almost 200,000 properties, but with spending on such measures falling at a time when floods are predicted to get worse with climate change, the Government has come under fire for cutting the flooding budget.
England and Wales experienced 10 separate flooding events between April and December after widespread drought gave way to the wettest summer in a century, with unusually high rainfall totals and river levels around the country.
At the end of April, parts of Devon and Cornwall saw more than 24 hours of continuous rain, while in late June, Honister in Cumbria saw 200mm (eight inches) of rainfall in one day, the Environment Agency said.
In June, hundreds of homes and businesses in Calderdale suffered flooding - and the damage bill was put at more than £12m.
Many from Hebden Bridge to Brighouse were flooded again in July.
In July the River Axe at Weycroft Bridge in Devon was 3.58m (11.7ft) high, its highest level on record, and in September the River Ouse in York reached its second highest recorded level, as the most intense September low pressure system for 30 years moved slowly across the UK.
Coastal flooding hit Weston-super-Mare in October and Cornwall in December.
Through the year, nearly 200,000 homes received a flood warning from the Environment Agency’s free flood warning service, and the agency said 199,632 homes were protected by defences.
But spending on defences fell in the last financial year from £354m on new projects in 2010/2011 to £259m.