A COUNCIL has been named and shamed in an Environment Agency report.

Middlesbrough is one of a number of UK councils mentioned in an agency report for having ignored "critical advice on flood risk when granting planning permission".

An example cited was the granting of planning permission for an extension to the Sainsbury's superstore in the town's Wilson Street.

An agency spokesman said Middlesbrough Council gave permission for the extension in April 2004, despite being asked by the agency to submit a flood risk assessment before making a decision. An assessment was never submitted.

According to the council, Sainsbury's only applied for renewal of planning approval in 2004 -the council having initially granted permission to the supermarket chain in 1999.

Barbara Young, the chief executive of the Environment Agency, said: "Over five million people and two million homes and businesses are currently at risk from flooding in England and Wales.

"Recent floods, storms and drought have shown how vulnerable we are to the weather -illustrated by the floods last summer in Europe and by New Orleans.

"While we welcome findings that local planning authorities are increasingly not developing inappropriately in the flood plain, we are concerned that this improvement has not been repeated for major developments."

"There were 21 cases nationally where our advice was ignored on major developments -the same as last year -and a large proportion of these were for residential development."