Over 25,000 more homes will be better protected from the devastating effects of flooding by new defence schemes to start construction in the next financial year, Defra and the Environment Agency have confirmed today.
In total, 60 flood and coastal risk schemes will begin construction this year. Those given the go ahead today include Warrington in Cheshire, protecting over 1900 households, Salmons Brook in North London, protecting over 1300 households, and Godmanchester in Cambridgeshire, protecting over 300 households.
Richard Benyon, Minister for the Natural Environment and Fisheries, said:
“The new flood defence schemes announced today will bring huge relief to tens of thousands of households. Our investment will protect these communities from the devastating effects of flooding, and allow residents to live without the fear and worry of their homes being damaged.”
New estimates also show that the Environment Agency is now on track to exceed its target of better protecting 145,000 homes by 2015.
Thanks to the new partnership funding approach, which encourages funding from external sources such as councils and businesses, over £72 million of contributions have been secured to help fund flood and coastal erosion schemes on top of the £2.17 billion Defra is investing in preventing flooding during this spending period to 2015.
Regional Flood and Coastal Committees have worked with local communities to attract flood defence funding from sources such as councils, businesses and private investors.
This Partnership Funding approach was introduced in May 2011 to encourage external contributions so that taxpayers’ money is spread across more schemes.
Richard Benyon continued:
“Small towns like Cockermouth and Morpeth became household names after the devastation and distress caused by flooding in recent years. Today, residents here and in many towns across the country are reaping the rewards of the partnership funding model brought in to enable more flood defence schemes to go ahead. We now expect to exceed our goal to protect 145,000 more homes from flooding by 2015.”
Environment Agency Chairman Lord Chris Smith said:
“We will continue to work to reduce the risk of flood and its impacts, and this year we will begin 60 new flood defence schemes, which, when completed, will protect many thousands of homes. We are also committed to increasing the number of people signed up to our free flood warning service to over 1.1 million, and will continue to maintain our existing flood defences.
“With one in six homes in England at risk of flooding, we would encourage people to take their own steps to prepare for flooding, for example by signing up to the Environment Agency’s free flood warning service.”
The Partnership Funding model targets areas of severe flood and coastal erosion risk, and homes in deprived communities. Of the 145,000 homes that will be better protected by 2015, around half are in areas of significant flood risk and almost 15,000 households are both at significant flood risk and in the most deprived parts of the country.
Partnership Funding gives local people greater choice about what flood protection is provided in their area.
In Cockermouth, £3.3 million funding from Defra makes up part of the funding to enable a flood scheme to be built in the town, which the local community and local councils have also committed to help fund.
A scheme in Water End, York, which was turned down for funding last year, is going ahead after the Environment Agency worked with York City Council to agree a package of cost reductions and partnership contributions.
As well as the flood schemes that will progress as a result of this year’s funding, the allocation for 2012/13 also covers maintenance of existing defences. The Environment Agency has also committed to increasing the number of households receiving free flood warnings to over 1.1 million.
The full list of schemes going ahead in 2012/13 is published on the Environment Agency website at: http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/research/planning/118129.aspx.
As an example of partnership funding, in South Derbyshire, Nestle has contributed £1.7 million to a £7 million scheme to protect 1,600 homes and further financial contributions have been made from industry, the community and local landowners.