On West Midlands radio today we heard about a Monday and Tuesday road closure due to flooding caused by a blocked culvert near Saltwells Wood.

Birmingham’s River Cole, whose rapid floods quickly subside, is monitored by the Environment Agency.

During the severe floods of 2007, some affected householders were alarmed by fears that insurance companies would no longer offer them cover. Co-operative Insurance Services, however, reassured their customers living in flood prone areas that CIS would honour their commitments.

Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman attended a meeting about water shortages this week but there is also concern in many areas about wasted floodwaters.

Government grants to shore up flood defences

Ms Spelman recently announced Government grants to shore up flood defences. She said that the local authorities would decide how the money could be best spent on bolstering their defences.

How will such grants be spent?

The experience of Cockermouth residents, related by email, sounds a warning: Cockermouth was granted £3.2m towards flood defences. When (or indeed whether) we get this money is anyone`s guess and for that matter precisely how it will be spent are matters for which we have acute concerns. It seems that any project which has funding of any size immediately goes into what our old builder called “pc sums”. He meant “per cost sums” or things that they had forgotten to include when they calculated the original expense.”

And will householders in flood-prone areas get insurance cover?