THE unique new flood defence near Winchester will be tested in the next few days.

The Environment Agency has partially blocked the two main streams of the River Itchen at Easton to divert water onto former water meadows between the M3 and Easton Lane.

The agency hopes that will reduce the flow into the city centre where around 100 homes are threatened.

Mike O’Neill, an operations manager at the Environment Agency, said today: “Our guys who were working on this through the night are getting some sleep now.

"We’re expecting today (FEB 13) to be a comparatively dry day, so it will be tomorrow, or the next time there is a heavy downfall, that you’ll be able to judge the effectiveness of this.”