An MP has accused environmental agencies of being more interested in leaving drainage ditches and waterways "full of mud and plants" than keeping them clear to prevent flooding.

George Freeman pointed the finger at his own government for not ensuring the Environment Agency, charged with reducing the risk from flooding and coastal erosion to people, properties and businesses, does its job.

Eastern Daily Press: George Freeman MPGeorge Freeman MP (Image: PA)

The Mid Norfolk MP criticised the organisation and called for some of its funding to be given to Norfolk's internal drainage boards - public bodies which manage flood risks and drainage in different catchment areas.

He made his remarks in the House of Commons after more than 100 homes in Attleborough, in his constituency, were flooded during Storm Babet in October last year.

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Eastern Daily Press: Homes in Attleborough suffered extensive floodingHomes in Attleborough suffered extensive flooding (Image: Stuart Sharpin)

Mr Freeman said: "It is really important the Department [for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs] understands rivers' principal function is to drain water to the sea, and that our ditches' and watercourses' principal function is to do that.

"At times in Norfolk, it is beginning to feel as though the environmental agencies are more concerned with keeping them full of mud and plants, than making sure they fulfill their primary purpose, leaving constituents - farmers and people with sewage in their houses - to pay the price."

Mr Freeman said climate change was part of the reason for increased flooding, but that "house dumping and inappropriate investment in infrastructure" was also contributing.

He called for some of the Environment Agency's "substantial funding" to be diverted to internal drainage boards, which he said were "the most expert bodies at handling drainage."

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A spokesman for the Environment Agency said: "We sympathise with anyone who has been flooded during this especially wet autumn and winter period.

“The Environment Agency manages the risks of flooding from main rivers within a tight financial, legal and policy framework.

“Watercourse maintenance is targeted where it will cost-effectively reduce the risk of flooding to homes and businesses."