News story

£700m boost for flood defences brings £150m more for Yorkshire and Cumbria

The Chancellor announced an extra £700m in flood defence funding

An extra £700m in flood defence funding will help deliver the government’s commitment to ensure communities are protected against increasingly extreme weather.

This comes on top of the £2.3bn of planned spending up to 2021 - exceeding the Government’s manifesto commitment to build 1,500 flood defence schemes and representing a real terms increase in capital investment that is up from £1.7bn in the last Parliament and £1.5bn 2005-2010.

Environment Secretary, Elizabeth Truss, said:

Thanks to this additional funding communities across the north will be better protected from the devastating effects of the sort of extreme weather we saw in December.

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.

In total £150m of capital spending will build flood defence schemes in areas affected by the December floods which will bring protection to more than 7,400 properties. This will include:

  • £115m extra for Yorkshire with schemes in Leeds, York and the Calder Valley – to better protect 3,000 homes and 1,700 businesses and other properties. And the government will fund the completion of the Leeds scheme beyond 2021.
  • £33m extra in Cumbria for schemes in Kendal, Appleby, Flimby, Eamont Bridge, Wigton, Pooley Bridge, Rickerby Park and Braithwaite – to better protect 1,700 properties and key local infrastructure.

The government has also committed investing up to £25m in flood defences in Carlisle once the Environment Agency has concluded a review of its needs in the city.

This brings the total capital commitment by 2021 in Yorkshire to £400m, with at least £43m being spent in Cumbria.

Floods Minister Rory Stewart said:

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.

The focus for schemes funded by the additional capital spending will be those that help communities at highest risk and secure economic growth, particularly in areas that were affected in December.

The £700m extra support also includes: a £160m boost for the maintenance budget, taking it to more than £1bn in this parliament. This will help protect an extra 20,000 houses by keeping existing defences operational; and money to fund recommendations from the on-going National Flood Resilience Review.

Sir James Bevan, Chief Executive of the Environment Agency, said:

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.


A new £65m scheme will start for Leeds covering the area north of the station and the wider Aire catchment to better protect 579 properties. Government will provide £35m between now and 2021, and will provide funding to complete the scheme. To ensure we give a better standard of protection to a city with the economic importance of Leeds a scoping study to progress the plan will be published by the end of the March. It will look at traditional flood defences, upstream flood storage areas, planting trees in the upper catchment, run-off reduction through better management of agricultural land, slowing the flow from the source of the river in the Yorkshire Dales.

These new plans enhance work already underway in the area to the south of the station in Leeds which will protect 3,000 homes and 500 businesses. The government is already committing £33m to this scheme which is due for completion in March 2017.

Calder Valley

An additional £35m will also be invested in the Calder Valley to better protect 1,600 properties. This will include schemes in Hebden Bridge and Mytholmroyd. A feasibility study for the Calder Valley is already underway with an action plan for Mytholmroyd due to be published in May and a plan for the whole Valley by this autumn. This is in addition to the £17m of work already planned by 2021 in the Calder Valley.


The government will make available £45m additional funding for work in York which will see around 15 schemes at different locations throughout York to upgrade raised defences and provide a consistent standard of protection for the City. This will better protect over 2,000 properties. This is in addition to the £10m that has already been committed for repairs and upgrades to the Foss Barrier where work is planned to start in early April and be complete by December 2017. This builds on work already planned this Parliament in York including schemes at Water End and Clifton Ings and Rawcliffe Meadows which will protect over 1400 homes


Cumbria will receive an additional £33m for schemes in Kendal, Appleby, Flimby, Eamont Bridge, Wigton, Pooley Bridge, Rickerby Park and Braithwaite – to better protect 1,700 properties and key local infrastructure.