Thousands of health centres and doctors' surgeries are at risk of flooding, the Environment Agency has warned.
It says that rising sea levels, more rapid coastal erosion and increasingly severe and frequent rainstorms will increase the chances of flooding from rivers or the sea.
The agency's Flooding In England report warns that without increasing funding for defences, the annual cost of damage to commercial and residential properties could rise from £2.5bn to £4bn.
It estimates that £20bn of investment is needed in flood defences to protect properties in the next 25 years.
Some 5.2 million sites are already at risk of flooding, with 2.4 million threatened by rivers and the sea, and a further 2.8 million at risk from surface water flooding from overflowing drains.
The South East of England contained the highest number of properties at significant risk, with 111,356 threatened by flooding.
And of any local authority, Boston in Lincolnshire had the greatest number of properties at high risk – 23,700.
Copyright © Press Association 2009