Britain “can’t win a war against water” by simply building higher flood defences, the head of the Environment Agency warns.

Whole communities may need to be moved as traditional defences are not enough to protect against the growing risks of flooding and coastal erosion, the Environment Agency (EA) has warned.

With global temperatures predicted to rise between 2C and 4C by 2100, the EA report said at least £1bn needs to be spent on building and improving current defences.

However more drastic action may also be needed, including rebuilding flood-hit homes with raised electrics, hard floor, protective doors – and in some cases relocation.

EA chairwoman Emma Howard Boyd said: “We can’t win a war against water by building away climate change with infinitely high flood defences.

“More should be done to encourage property owners to build back better and in better places after a flood, rather than just recreating what was there before.

“In some places, the scale of the threat may be so significant that recovery will not always be the best long term solution.

“In these instances, we will help communities to move out of harm’s way.”

Read more: Sky News