For the last 50 years we have been concreting over our countryside, neglecting our drainage systems and busily building on flood plains.

In other words; living as if flooding is a problem that happens elsewhere.

©Sky News

Now, a new report from scientists at Durham University says the UK has been lulled into a false sense of security, when we should have been preparing for a period of floods on a scale "beyond most people's living memory".

The scientists looked at rainfall and river flow patterns over the last 250 years, since 1753.

They found that the UK's weather fluctuated between very wet and very dry periods, each lasting for a few years at a time, but also between very long periods of a few decades that can be particularly wet or particularly dry.

They discovered that from the late 1960s to the late 1990s, the UK was relatively flood-free.

Now, they say records show we can expect a period of increased flooding, similar to that experienced before the 1960s.

Professor Stuart Lane from Durham's Institute of Hazard and Risk said: "We are now having to learn to live with levels of flooding that are beyond most people's living memory.

"More than three-quarters of country's flood records - on which risk estimates were based - started during the 1960s.

"We have not been good at recognising just how flood-prone we can be. We have probably underestimated the frequency of flooding much more often than we are used to."

May, June and July last year saw their highest level of rainfall since British records began.

A second report out today from the cross party Environment Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee says the infrastructure set up to deal with last summer's floods is in chaos and the eight hundred million pounds funding pledged by the Government is "inadequate."

The MPs said at the moment, no organisation has overall responsibility for surface water flooding at a national or local level, nobody was responsible for issuing flood warnings and it was unclear who was responsible for overflowing drains.

They also recommended that the Environment Agency should take a strategic role in dealing with surface water flooding nationally, providing advice and guidance to local authorities who should have a statutory duty to deal with surface drainage.

Chair of the Committee, Michael Jack MP said: "The public will not forgive the Government if it is not seen to be responding to the lessons learnt from the floods of last summer.

"Our report has shown how confused and chaotic was the infrastructure when it came to preventing and dealing with surface water flooding.

"The Government must bring clarity to this situation so that the public, wherever they live, can have peace of mind that every effort is being made to avoid a repeat of the fiasco of last summer."

©Sky News
Flash floods in Tewkesbury

The Local Government Association too has waded in.

In response to the EFRA Committee's report, they agree that under the current system, it is often unclear who has responsibility for managing flood risk and maintaining drainage systems.

They say that in some parts of the country a myriad of different bodies - including the Environment Agency, councils, private landowners and water companies - have these powers but often do not share information with each other.

They recommend that water companies should be forced to co-operate with local authorities to prevent a repeat of last summer's floods, council leaders said today.

For once, then, the MPs and the scientists are in firm agreement: rather than dismissing last summer's floods as a one off event, they say we must be prepared for worse to come.