UK government pledges over £5bn for flood protection
The UK government has today unveiled a £5.2bn package to better protect hundreds of thousands of properties from flooding over the next decade.
The investment aims to create around 2,000 new flood and coastal defences, helping to boost protection for 336,000 properties in England by 2027 as climate change and extreme weather events intensify.
It includes £200m for innovative projects, such as sustainable drainage systems, and up to £170m for 'shovel-ready' flood defence schemes that will begin construction in 2020 or 2021.
This comes on the same day that the Environment Agency announced that flood warnings would be expanded to all properties at risk by 2022 under its new Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management Strategy.
Prime minister Boris Johnson said: “Last winter I saw for myself the misery and upheaval that flooding can bring to lives and livelihoods and I said we would do more to help people.
“This long-term plan will help push back the flood waters and protect hundreds of thousands of homes, businesses and livelihoods. Our record investment will also stimulate economic growth across the UK as we build back better.”
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said that the plan aims to prevent £32bn in economic damage, create areas to store water, and to ensure greater use of nature-based solutions to reduce flood risk.
This is summarised under five government commitments – supported by 40 actions – which include:
1) Upgrading and expanding flood defences and infrastructure across the country
2) Managing the flow of water to both reduce flood risk and manage drought
3) Harnessing the power of nature to reduce flood risk and deliver benefits for the environment, nature, and communities
4) Better preparing communities for when flooding and erosion does occur
5) Ensuring every area of England has a comprehensive local plan for dealing with flooding and coastal erosion.
The plan also sets out changes to the Flood Re insurance scheme, which would allow claims to include an additional amount so that flood resilience measures are included in repairs, and ensure lower premiums for households with property flood resilience measures in place.
Meanwhile, the Environment Agency's new strategy unveils new collaborative partnerships with national road, rail and utilities providers to ensure their investments are flood resilient and benefit the public.
“The clean, green recovery of the economy from coronavirus must have nature at its heart,” Environment Agency chair Emma Howard Boyd said. “This is a blueprint for using the natural world to build back better so that homes, businesses and infrastructure are more resilient.”
Image credit: iStock
Chris Seekings is a reporter for TRANSFORM