Almost one in five properties in King's Lynn and West Norfolk are located in areas at higher risk of flooding, figures have revealed.

A total of 19,379 properties in the district were in places with a 1pc or greater probability of flooding each year, according to National Audit Office data for 2020.

That equates to 18pc of the overall number of buildings in the borough.

Across the nation, only South Holland (33.9pc), Boston (30.8pc), Fenland (25.9pc) and Runnymede (22.1pc) had more in what the Environment Agency calls 'flood zone 3'.

The Borough Council of King's Lynn and West Norfolk (BCKLWN) said that, when considering plans for new homes, it was "generally allocating development to the lowest-risk areas."

Norfolk's other districts had less than 2pc of its properties in the highest-risk zone, as follows:

  • Breckland: 694 (0.8pc)
  • Broadland: 1,271 (1.6pc)
  • Great Yarmouth: 1,072 (1.8pc)
  • North Norfolk: 1,424 (1.7pc)
  • Norwich: 95 (0.1pc)
  • South Norfolk: 1,458 (1.6pc)

However, King's Lynn and West Norfolk's at-risk total has, in fact, declined since 2018, when 21,211 properties (19.7pc) were in flood zone 3.

Warnings have been widespread in recent months over the potential for climate change to cause extreme weather events, including flooding, on a more frequent basis.

Last winter, much of Norfolk was hit by devastating floods over the Christmas period.

Low-lying areas such as the Fens are, of course, the most susceptible to being submerged.

A spokesman for BCKLWN said the council continually sought to strike a balance between the need for new housing and avoiding flood-risk areas.

They added: "The council has allocated some two-thirds of its housing requirement to sites in flood zone 1 (less than 0.1pc flooding probability).

"King’s Lynn acts as the sub-regional centre for a large rural catchment area; the town is well-protected and it is recognised that development is needed to aid regeneration.

"Maintaining the sustainability of communities to the west of the town in flood-risk areas is recognised in planning policy, and the lowest-risk areas are identified for housing allocations where needed.

"Following the last major flooding event to substantially affect the borough, in 1978, King’s Lynn’s defences were considerably improved and withstood a much higher tidal surge in 2013."