Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service is leading the charge to protect the county against future flooding.

County council boss Roy Perry said there were “lessons to be learned” in the wake of the winter weather that caused destruction and chaos across Hampshire, leaving a £68m bill for repairs to roads and infrastructure.

And the fire service is “drawing up those lessons” by organising a multi-agency debrief, pulling together recommendations for future plans from councils, emergency services and the Environment Agency.

As reported by the Daily Echo, it comes as fire chiefs have launched a review to try to plug a £12m gap in the budget, leaving firefighter jobs, fire stations and equipment – including fire engines – at risk.

Council officials will also meet with utilities companies in the coming months to work more closely on protecting residents from floods.

Speaking at a Cabinet meeting on the impact of the flooding, Cllr Perry said: “There are definitely lessons to be learned, there is no doubt about that and Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service will be drawing up those lessons.”

The rising waters caused residents in Romsey to leave their homes, closed roads across the county and closed St Bede School in Winchester, which was partially submerged.

Councillors praised steps taken more than a decade ago at St Bede following previous floods that stopped the school being completely submerged this time.

Hampshire education boss Cllr Peter Edgar said: “We were advised by the Environment Agency in 2001 to spend £2m on the school and the fact we took that advice stopped the school being completely submerged in the flood. What we were told at the time was the money was to prevent a one-in-1,000-year contingency which didn’t quite work out.”

Cllr Perry also thanked all those involved in protecting lives during the floods. He said: “I want to thank everybody who had a part to play, not least individual householders who helped neighbours. I think we saw the quality of the community in Hampshire at its very best.”