Sector - Health & Safety

Flood Defences of the Future

The UK Government have announced a new formula for allocating funding for flood and costal defences throughout England.

With the UK having the fifth wettest autumn ever recorded in 2019, and rainfall breaking records throughout England, as well as major storms, Ciara and Dennis, striking in February, the UK saw the devastating impacts that severe weather brings.

This exceptionally wet weather also saw thousands of homes flooded and lives disrupted up and down the country. Since then, the UK Government have been working in partnership with the Environment agency, as well as local authorities, in order to get people back into their homes as quickly as possible.

The Government have also recently announced a further £120 million to combat repairs and bolster defences which were flooded in the winter, and £200 million to help more than 25 local areas develop innovative actions in order to improve their resilience to flooding.

Because of the severe flooding and weather which the UK felt the brunt of over the winter, the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak announced int the 2020 Budget that the Government would double its investment in flood and coastal defence in England to £5.2 billion over the next six years.

Thanks to this investment, this will ensure that 336,000 homes and non-residential properties such as businesses, schools and hospitals are better protected from the likes of flooding and coastal erosion.

Along with doubling spending on flood and coastal defence, the Government have worked with the Environment Agency to update how the level of Government funding is allocated to projects.

Changes will include:

  • Updates payments to account for inflation and based on new evidence on overall impacts of flooding, such as mental health
  • Increased payments for flood schemes which also create a range of environmental benefits
  • More funding for flood schemes which also protect properties that will later become at risk of flooding due to climate change
  • A new risk category which will enable schemes to prevent surface water flooding to qualify for more funding

New funding streams will also mean:

  • More money for flood defence schemes that help to protect critical infrastructures such as schools, hospitals, roads and railways
  • More money to upgrade existing Environment Agency defences

Each of the changes will apply to all new schemes from April 2021, meaning that there will be a better change to recognize the full range of benefits that flood schemes can bring. In addition to this, it will mean that more schemes will be able to qualify for increased levels for Government funding.

The changes will ensure that the Government flood defence spending is priorities to where it can achieve the best outcomes. It will also encourage defences that are fit for the futures and will continue to incentivise financial contributions from others who have a part to play.

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