River Trent flood defence scheme opened

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Media captionThe project has taken three years to raise the defences along a 16 mile stretch

One of the biggest inland flood protection projects in England has been opened along the River Trent by the Environment Secretary Owen Paterson.

About 16,000 homes on the river's north bank around Nottingham will be protected by the £45m Environment Agency scheme.

The flood defence system, which took three years to complete, stretches 27km (16 miles) along the river.

Mr Paterson said it would bring relief to homes and businesses in the area.

After flood water damaged hundreds of homes and businesses in the area in 2000, flood defences were reviewed by the Environment Agency.

The work, which was originally set to cost £51m, meant the risk of flooding from Sawley to Colwick had been reduced to a risk of once in 100 years from once in 25 years, according to the organisation.

Mr Paterson said: "Our investment here will bring much relief to 16,000 homes and businesses, more than any other inland flood defence in the country."

Image caption Attenborough home owners were badly affected by flooding in 2000

'House was gutted'

Mark Smith, an Attenborough resident who saw flood waters lapping at the edge of his house in 2000, said he was pleased with the work.

"Now that it is finished we all feel a lot safer," Mr Smith said.

Another Attenborough resident, Andy Greensmith, said: "We were flooded out of our property for six months and lived in rented accommodation because house was gutted and ground floor was basically… contaminated with foul water and sewage.

"It is a good, positive thing for Attenborough and residents in the village… but we have to wait until we have another period of adverse weather and then we might find out if the flood defences actually hold."

The work was funded by Defra and built by the Environment Agency, working closely with Nottingham City Council and Natural England

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