2nd December 2014
The Government has pledged a £2.3 billion investment over six years to improve Britain’s flood defences.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said that the spending would help to protect British homes, businesses and farmland “from Lancashire to Essex”.
The scheme aims to protect over 300,000 properties, reduce flood risk by 5% and save the economy £2.7 billion by 2021.
Mike Holliday-Williams, managing director of UK personal lines, Direct Line Insurance, said: “We support the Government as they look to improve flood defences in and around the UK, however we believe that more needs to be spent on flood defences to ensure we are prepared for the future and to protect those most at risk.”
Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss, said: “We know how vital it is to tackle flood risk and from the Humber Estuary in the North-East to Thames Estuary in the South this ambitious programme of defences will reduce the threat of flooding for hundreds of thousands of people.
” This long-term investment will allow businesses and communities to thrive and local economies to flourish by delivering greater protection from flood risk over the next 6 years.
“This, combined with the record level of investment in capital we have set out today, will improve protection to 465,000 homes and businesses by the end of the decade.”
However Labour accused the Government of “playing catch-up on flood defences” suggesting that the money would only make up a proportion of previous cuts.
Shadow environment secretary Maria Eagle said the government had cut the flood protection budget by more than £100m a year, and was “promising to put some of that back, but perhaps not until towards the end of the next Parliament”.
The 1,400 projects to receive funding include:
£80 million for the Humber Estuary
over £17 million for Tonbridge, Yalding and the surrounding communities
£196 million for the Thames Estuary programme
£73 million for the Boston Barrier/Barrage
£42 million for the Oxford Western Conveyance
£47 million for the Rossall Coastal Defence Improvement
In addition, the Government will commit to spend £15.5 million in Somerset on flood defences over the next 6 years benefitting 7,000 properties, including £4.2 million on the Somerset Levels and Moors. This is part of at least £35 million committed to Somerset from this year until 2021.