The Environment Agency has been trialling a new piece of equipment in Essex to help reduce flood risk to homes and businesses.

The vehicle, named Truxor, is designed to work both on the channel bed or whilst afloat. It has recently been trialled at river sections in Kelvedon and Heybridge in Essex having previously been used in Norfolk.

By cutting the vegetation in water channels before the winter, any flood water is able to get away from settlements quicker. Decisions on where to cut are prioritised based on flood risk in a particular area.

A spokesperson for the Environment Agencey said:

The Environment Agency works all year round to help minimise flood risk.

We routinely inspect defences and carry out repairs and maintenance. This includes channel maintenance and involves a range of activities to maintain conveyance such as weed cutting, removing blockages and where appropriate dredging.

David Simpson, flood-risk supervisor in the Chelmer and the Blackwater rivers, said:

"Truxor has proved to be a very beneficial piece of equipment.

It is making a real difference in helping to reduce the flood risk to communities across the area.

"Climate change is happening now. We’re seeing more extreme weather, with an increase in flooding, coastal erosion and landslips."