FLOOD plagued neighbours have come together to have their say on how they could be better protected.

More than 100 residents packed into Pangbourne Village Hall on Tuesday, April 2, to hear environment bosses outline their plans for the village at a meeting organised by Reading West MP Alok Sharma. People living in the notorious flooding black spot, which suffered badly in 2007 and again during last December's floods, quizzed representatives from the Environment Agency and West Berkshire Council on flood defences and home insurance.

Mr Sharma said: "One of the biggest concerns for residents is about getting affordable insurance so I have agreed to help organise a follow up meeting for residents to hear from specialist insurance providers. My grateful thanks to everyone who attended the meeting and a really big thank you to the Parish Council and the local flood warden who do such a great job when the local area does suffer from flooding."

In recent years engineers have dug out the bed of the River Pang under the main bridge at Reading Road and by the sewage plant in a bid to prevent future flooding. Environment Agency workers have also cleared out ditches, straightened the river to prevent it from silting up and removed disused weirs to improve the flow.

Cllr Pamela Bale, who represents Pangbourne, said: "The mitigation measures carried out by the Environment Agency and West Berkshire Council have proved effective in preventing flooding in the last few months. The vigilance of the Parish Council, flood warden and residents has helped to ensure that any issues which could cause flooding, such as blockages in the watercourse have been reported and dealt with."

Work has also got under way to improved the flow along Sulham Brook, to protect Pangbourne Primary School and houses on Briars Close, while environment bosses announced that potential improvements to the Tidmarsh area are also in the pipeline.

Martin Bryan from the Environment Agency said: "Looking to the future we know there is still work to be done in the area and will continue to engage with the flood wardens and local community to assess and maintain the watercourses as a high priority. We will continue to look for improvements that can be made to further reduce the risk of flooding."