ALMOST 7000 English houses have been flooded since a tidal surge hit the east coast in early December.

A total of 6980 properties have had standing water in them and many more homes, communities and businesses have been affected by the wet winter weather.

Extreme high levels of groundwater are expected to remain in parts of the country for several months while the Somerset Levels continue to face "significant flooding", Communities Secretary Eric Pickles told MPs yesterday.

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Flooding Minister Dan Rogerson said: "Many have experienced flooding in their gardens or streets outside their homes or in local businesses. The effects will have been reached by many more properties but it's 7000 that have actually been flooded."

Whole communities like Muchelney, Somerset, have been cut off.