Gatwick Airport has again insisted that flood water it released into the River Mole did not have a knock-on effect further downstream.

Flooding on Christmas Eve at Leatherhead, 20 miles away, reached extraordinarily high levels, caused evacuations, ruined properties and closed roads.

A review by Gatwick in February into flooding at the airport called for an urgent review of flood prevention plans and recommended the assessment of its impact upstream and downstream.

An airport spokesman said this week: "The amount of flooding downstream was actually reduced - the impact of the volume of water on our control mechanisms meant the amount of water leaving Gatwick’s site was less than the levels mandated by the Environment Agency.

"This resulted in increased flooding at the airport but prevented larger volumes of water from travelling downstream.

"Therefore, we believe any issues with flooding downstream were a direct result of the sheer amount of rainfall in the local area, and not a knock-on effect of any activity that took place at Gatwick."