Significant funding will continue to be spent by Government next year in reducing the risks from flooding and coastal erosion, Climate Change and Environment Minister Ian Pearson announced today.
The Environment Agency will receive a total of £436 million to fund their flood management activities - which includes, for example, building and maintaining defences as well as work on flood forecasting and warning - which more than restores the reduction made to the Agency's budget in 2006/2007. Their allocation in 2006/2007 is
On top of the EA's risk management programme Defra funding will also support local authority and Internal Drainage Board projects worth
£67 million - including new projects at Weston-super-Mare and Ross-on-Wye.
Mr Pearson said:
"This announcement is good news for the many communities such as those at Nottingham, Wisbech, Weston-super-Mare and Ross-on-Wye who are set to benefit from continued Government investment in managing the risks of flooding and coastal erosion. Some £4.5 billion will have been invested across England in total on flood and coastal erosion measures since 1996/7.
"We already have a full programme of works across the country which is currently on course to protect more than 100,000 people and their homes over the current spending period. This high level of funding is being used to good effect. As these projects are completed over the coming years many new projects will start. Government funding for future years will be considered carefully as part of the Government's Comprehensive Spending Review.
"As part of today's decision, we will also be funding longer term analysis of the challenges posed by flooding and coastal erosion on our coastlines - a challenge that will only intensify as a result of climate change.
"But the risks of flooding can't be eliminated totally which is why managing this risk is much more than just building defences. That's why we must adapt to climate change and improve our resilience to flooding."
Writing to local authorities announcing the funding allocations, Mr Pearson also outlined the Government's wider strategy in managing flooding and coastal erosion. He outlined the important contribution that local authorities could make in preparing and planning for flood emergencies through local resilience fora and working with the Environment Agency. Defra is playing a major role in the Cabinet Office led 'Capabilities Programme' which is working to build the capability of all key players across the country to respond to a range of serious emergencies, including flooding.
Mr Pearson also stressed the role that local authorities can play in ensuring that inappropriate development does not take place in flood and coastal erosion risk areas. The Government has recently reinforced this message through publication of Planning Policy Statement 25.
The Government has been working with the Environment Agency and Local Government Association representatives to develop a suite of Outcome Measures for flood and coastal erosion risk management. Defra this week launched a formal consultation on these, along with proposals for a prioritisation process to be used in determining allocations for the Comprehensive Spending Review 2007 period.