Having experienced some of its worst flooding in 50 years, deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott, said that the UK needs to face up to climate change, and accept such extreme events will become more frequent.

At the height of the flooding in October a flood defence system upstream of Ashford, on the river Stour in Kent, performed as anticipated. Overtopping of the dam, however, attracted national media attention as local residents saw the spillway in operation for the first time. ‘This was the first time the facility did its job in anger,’ Ken Alison, regional flood defence manager for the Environment Agency’s southern region, explained. Contrary to reports, he said, nothing failed or collapsed at Aldington reservoir. ‘It helped to reduce the rate, extent and duration of flooding downstream,’ he said. ‘It worked really well.’