Press release

£51m to be spent on new flood defences across Somerset, Dorset, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Homes in Bournemouth, Congresbury, Bridgwater and Cannington will be better protected from floods thanks to an unprecedented six-year £2.3 billion flood defence programme.

The new multi-million pound flood defence scheme in Bournemouth is just one of the 85 schemes across the area getting the green light today. Phase 1 of the scheme is worth almost £12 million and will protect around 2,600 properties in the area.

Other schemes funded in the first two year ‘construction’ phase in the region include:

  • work on the Parrett Estuary at Cannington Bends will protect 1,257 properties in the surrounding areas from the risk of flooding
  • Congresbury Yeo Tidal Banks, which will ensure that 4,101 homes and businesses in the village will be protected for years to come.
  • Somerset also has funding to complete the appraisal, scheme development and design for a Bridgwater Barrier over the next 5-6 years.

Danny Alexander, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury: said:

As we all saw last winter in Somerset and Dorset, floods devastate our communities. I have earmarked £51 million of flood defence funding across the region to protect thousands of homes here.

Investing £2.3 billion to support 1,400 schemes across the country will protect 300,000 homes from the north-east to the south-west. As well as ensuring people’s safety and peace of mind it will also bring over £30 billion of economic benefit, making it great value for money as part of this government’s drive for a stronger economy and a fairer society.

Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss, said:

Flood protection is vital and under our plans Somerset and Dorset will be better protected by 85 schemes across the region, including the Bridgwater barrier scheme, which will bring peace of mind to residents and businesses.

We are spending £3.2 billion in flood management and defences over the course of this parliament - half a billion pounds more than in the previous parliament. This, combined with the record level of investment in capital we have set out today, will improve protection to 465,000 homes and businesses by the end of the decade.

Environment Agency Chairman Sir Philip Dilley said:

Our priority is to do as much as we can with every pound of funding from government and local partners, we now expect to provide better flood protection to an additional 300,000 properties in England by the end of the decade.

With one in six homes in England at risk of flooding, and recognising the risk of flooding can never be eliminated, we would also 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.

This first ever long-term investment programme will protect almost 15,000 properties across Somerset and Dorset. Across England, it will reduce flood risk by five percent and save the economy £2.7 billion by 2021. The lifetime benefits of this investment will be even higher at over £30bn. New schemes may also be added as the programme progresses.

Since the beginning of this parliament flood defence investment has improved protection to over 230,000 homes and over 580,000 acres of land. The new investment will protect at least another 300,000 homes in England by the end of the decade.

The investment programme was published alongside a new long term study from the Environment Agency, which shows that the planned investment will reduce overall flood and coastal erosion risk in England.

It can be seen at the following link:

To see the national picture, visit the interactive Google map.