Flood defence schemes in south-east England brought forward

Men carrying ladder in canoe
Image caption Hundreds of properties and roads were flooded across the south-east of England last year

More than 12,000 homes across the south-east of England are to be protected from flooding sooner than planned, the government has announced.

It is bringing forward £41m of the six-year flood defence programme announced in December, allowing work to get under way on 40 flood defence projects.

They include the Great Stour scheme between Wye and Fordwich in Kent, benefiting more than 1,300 homes.

Ten brand new schemes have also been given the green light.

'Peace of mind'

Other projects brought forward include flood defence works at Whitstable Harbour, in Kent, protecting more than 2,300 homes, and Elmer Sands beach management works in West Sussex, protecting 124 homes.

New schemes not in the original six-year programme include Hampton to Bishopstone coast protection works in north Thanet, Kent, and the Middle Bourne flood alleviation scheme in Surrey.

Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss said it would mean "greater peace of mind" for thousands of people at risk from flooding.

Hundreds of properties and roads were flooded during the winter of 2013-14 when flooding, heavy rain and high winds battered the south-east of England.

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