THE Liberal Democrats have demanded to know what the Government is doing to prevent a repeat of last year's catastrophic floods in Worcestershire and Herefordshire.

Malcolm Bruce, spokesman on Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, has tabled a series of questions in the House of Commons.

These include what estimate Ministers have made of the annual investment it would take to ensure all flood defences are in "good" condition; and what plans there are to undertake a review of responsibility for flood defence management and funding.

"This time last year floods wreaked havoc throughout the country," said Mr Bruce. "It was a devastating wake-up call to the laughable nature of the UK's flood defence strategy.

"More investment in flood defence work is vital. New research, conducted by DEFRA, shows that substantially-increased levels of investment is desperately needed, to even maintain the present inadequate standards."

He continued: "A National Flood Task Force to create an integrated flood-management plan is essential to prevent even more devastating damage than experienced in 2000.

"The hotch-potch of administrative arrangements surrounding flood defence is diabolical.

"It's unbelievable that the Environment Agency doesn't have the overall responsibility for flood defence management and planning.''