A public body has revealed that an annual 'hand cut and clean' is carried out on a section of a Suffolk river that burst its banks during recent storms, flooding roads and homes.

The Environment Agency has said that the annual clearance work is conducted on a 1,800m stretch of the River Ore in Framlingham heading south from the Co-Op in Riverside every autumn.

However, the agency, which seeks to create better places for people and wildlife, is not responsible for Framlingham Mere, which feeds water into the river and also overflowed when Storm Babet struck Suffolk on October 20.

READ MORE: Storm Babet revealed drain flaws says Framlingham shopkeeper

But the work on the Ore could not prevent approximately 70 homes from being inundated with brown water.

Roads also became impassable and cars were submerged in The Elms car park next to the mere.

Since then, questions have been asked as to why more was not done to prevent the flooding, with Framlingham businessman Bill Bulstrode saying he had been warning 'for years' about the possibility.

READ MORE: Suffolk town's response during Storm Babet praised

He had raised concerns about blocked drains and a lack of dredging of the river.

A spokesperson for the Environment Agency said a combination of river and surface water contributed to the flooding.

She said dredging was an important part of the agency's maintenance programme, but was targeted at areas where it would reduce flood risk.

READ MORE: Framlingham news

She added: “While the Environment Agency is the Risk Management Authority responsible for the management of flood risk from designated main rivers and the sea, this does not automatically mean we have a maintenance responsibility.

“The Environment Agency is required to spend flood risk management funding within the financial guidelines set out by DEFRA and on works that have a demonstrable benefit in reducing flood risk to people and property (such as homes and businesses with a postcode).

"We must focus our resources where they are most needed and spend public money responsibly by investing in those activities that contribute most to reducing flood risk.”

Last week, the county council revealed that 4.7 million litres of water was pumped away during the storms, while 8,412 drains were 'cleared and jetted'.

However, Andrew Stringer, leader of the council's Green, Liberal Democrat and Independent group, said some of the flooding had been aggravated by works to clear drains that had been delayed or 'simply not undertaken'.

He called for a programme of preventative works to ensure drains were able to cope with the increasing amount of rainfall from the UK's changing weather patterns.

READ MORE: Suffolk news