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Warning of floods as river hits danger level

PUBLISHED: 11:52 28 January 2008 | UPDATED: 14:09 02 July 2010

THE RIVER Roding swelled to dangerous levels causing flood warnings to be issued for the Barking area last week. Following heavy rainfall, it was feared that the Roding, which runs from Stansted to the Thames at Creekmouth in Barking, would burst its bank

THE RIVER Roding swelled to dangerous levels causing flood warnings to be issued for the Barking area last week.

Following heavy rainfall, it was feared that the Roding, which runs from Stansted to the Thames at Creekmouth in Barking, would burst its banks.

Rising water levels have caused problems here in the past, and the latest rain resulted in a flood watch being issued on Barking and Dagenham Council's website.

Last summer, a flood-awareness campaign was started by the Thames Valley community police team to help protect vulnerable riverside homes.

The last severe flood was recorded in December, 2000 when hundreds of homes and businesses were waterlogged in Ilford and other parts of Redbridge.

The area surrounding the Roding is very residential, and if the river banks burst again the damage could be disastrous for many families.

In order to reduce risks of flooding and protect homes, the Environment Agency developed a plan to control river levels for the next 100 years.

The project was due to begin in 2007, but when leaks were found in the floodwalls near the Gascoigne Estate in Barking, the work was brought forward.

It involved fields being dug up and turned into flood storage areas into which rising levels of water could spill.

A spokesman for the Environment Agency said: "Flood storage areas are the most environmentally acceptable option because they pose less risk of negative impacts upon the ecology and landscape of the river habitat."

When it was announced last year that a housing development would be built on Barking's floodplain, concerns were raised about flood defences.

Ground levels were raised so they are now higher than the Thames Barrier, and improved surface water drainage systems have been incorporated.

However, the enormous amount of rain this month which has caused disaster in other parts of the UK, means that river levels are much higher than normal.

Fortunately the river levels receded steadily on Thursday last week, and an all clear was issued.

But the Met Office have warned that this will be the wettest January on record, with even more rain to come this week.

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