£700m Boost for Flood Defences in England

The UK government have announced they will be allocating an extra £700 million ($995 million US) towards funding for flood defence in England and Wales. The extra budget will allow the government to follow through on their pledge to protect communities over the UK who are susceptible to extreme weather conditions.

The budget was already at £2.3 billion to take badly hit areas through to 2021, which was planned to be used building flood defence schemes. However, after the devastating flooding of December 2015, further funds have been put towards the effort.

“We are committed to securing the economic future of the Northern Powerhouse. By delivering improved flood defences and looking at what more we can do to slow the flow of flood waters across whole catchments we doing more than ever before to protect Yorkshire and Cumbria and keep them thriving and open for business,” said the Environmental Secretary Elizabeth Truss.

The budget has been split to aid the neediest areas. Yorkshire was hit badly during the floods of late December 2015. An extra £115 million has been added to the fund, which will go towards protecting 1,700 businesses and 3,000 homes in the Leeds, Calder Valley and York areas.

Cumbria also suffered devastating losses from flooding, so that area will receive an extra £33 million to use on building schemes and protecting properties in specific areas like Flimby, Wigton, Braithwaite and Kendal.

After the Environment Agency has completed a review of the city and surrounding areas, £25 million of the extra government budget will be invested in flood defences around Carlisle. This means that by 2021, £400 million will have been invested into areas in the north east which are most prone to extreme weather conditions.

“In December, I saw for myself how the record breaking levels of rainfall caused so much damage across the north of the England. Since these floods, there has been the most moving and impressive response to the floods, right from communities ‎to volunteers, the emergency services and local authorities. I’m extremely pleased that we have provided a further £700 million to help better defend these communities in the future,” said Roy Stewart, the government’s flood minister.

Also included in the budget is an extra £160 million for the maintenance budget. This will enable the government to keep flood defences at operational level, shielding 20,000 properties from water damage. There will also be extra cash injected into the National Flood Resilience Review.

The Chief Executive of the Environmental Agency, James Bevan, has stated: “I welcome the extra funding of £700 million announced today for flood defence investment. It will help us do even more for local communities across the country, as the Environment Agency continues its vital work to repair flood defences in areas affected by December’s floods and to better protect thousand more homes and businesses from the risk of flooding.”