Communities across England are set to be better protected against the impacts of flooding thanks to almost £3 million of government investment, Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey confirmed today (Monday 22 July).
Following a competitive evaluation process, three projects across Yorkshire, Devon and Cornwall and central England have been chosen to receive up to £700,000 each to boost research into, and uptake of, property-level measures which can better protect homes and businesses from flooding.
The funding will go towards new research initiatives, demonstration centres and advice portals which will help people to learn about the benefits of installing measures in their homes which can significantly reduce the potential impacts of flooding. The remaining money will be used to fund further research, support project delivery and evaluation as well as initiatives to share the findings and lessons learned from the three projects across the rest of the country.
Property-level flood resilience can include a range of measures to reduce the damage that flooding can cause to buildings. This can include installing flood doors, hard floors and ensuring that electrics are raised off ground level around the home. The measures can significantly reduce the amount of time people are out of their home following a flood.
Environment Minister Coffey said:
I am delighted to award funding to the pathfinder flood resilience projects in the Ox-Cam arc, Yorkshire and the South West.
I expect the councils and organisations involved will increase the take up of property resilience measures by home owners and businesses, making their properties safer, and quicker to return to if flooding does happen.
The Oxford-Cambridge Pathfinder, led by Northamptonshire County Council, will be centred on the delivery of one million high-quality homes across a wide area, including neighbouring counties, by 2050. Ten communities will be identified to engage with the project, ensuring resources to promote and install property flood resilience are prioritised in the areas most vulnerable to the impacts of flooding.
The Yorkshire Future Flood Resilience Pathfinder project, delivered by City of York Council, will work with communities, planning and construction professionals, the construction industry and the insurance sector. This initiative will encourage greater uptake of property flood resilience measures across the Yorkshire Regional Flood and Coastal Committee area. It will establish a community hub and learning lab, working with existing projects and initiatives in the area, and provide staff to deliver a large scale training programme.
The South West Partnership project, led by Cornwall County Council, will focus on local innovation to enhance the future take-up of property flood resilience measures. As well as establishing a demonstration hub and web portal it will seek to simplify and streamline processes, increasing the flood resilience of communities across Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.
The projects will be delivered with support from the Environment Agency, the non-departmental body responsible for managing flood risk in England, and representatives of the insurance and construction industries. The Environment Agency will also monitor the projects to highlight successes and identify lessons that can be used to foster greater use of property flood resilience measures elsewhere across the country.
Emma Howard Boyd, Chair of the Environment Agency, said:
This new funding is a welcome step forwards for our efforts to boost the uptake of property-level resilience measures in homes and businesses across the country. The Environment Agency will work closely with the local authorities and organisations taking forward the Pathfinder projects to support their work and share lessons learnt.
Our experience shows that making these small changes in the home can make a huge difference to people’s lives when flooding takes place.
Building greater resilience into our homes, businesses and infrastructure forms one of the core themes of the Environment Agency’s Draft Flood and Coastal Risk Management Strategy, looking at how we can prepare for increased climate risk over the next 100 years.
The Government is currently investing a record £2.6 billion to better protect 300,000 homes and thousands of business from flooding and coastal erosion between 2015-2021.