ONCE again, Craven has been inundated by floods.

It is the third time within a month that householders and businesses have had to contend with the misery of having mop up their homes.

On this occasion, the worst-hit areas were those in the catchment of the River Aire, where levels reached record highs.

The heavy and persistent rain even caused the Leeds and Liverpool Canal to burst its banks in several places.

And, once again, the emergency services, rescue volunteers, the utilities and public-spirited residents did a sterling job, trying to limit the damage.

But there is only so much they can do.

What is needed is a strategic look at changing climatic conditions and how to we can protect against their impact.

It is heartening to know that work has started on Skipton's £13.8 million flood relief scheme - but the whole of Craven needs protecting.

We are told that, as temperatures rise, we must expect more extremes of weather and, even as the Herald went to press, the country was bracing itself for another bout of stormy conditions with more heavy rain and gales.

It will be the sixth storm of this winter - and this constant battering is something we will have to get used to.

Whatever the causes of climate change - and there are plenty of different views on the subject - flood engineers need to plan for an era of unknown extremes. And their work needs to be constantly updated.

We agree with the Environment Agency’s deputy chief executive David Rooke when he says there should be a complete rethink of flood protection and resilience.

He says it is not just about providing better defences but also about looking at increasing resilience so that, when properties do flood, damage is minimal and people can get back into their homes and their businesses more quickly.

Such a rethink is needed now.