The new system provides money based on the benefits each project delivers to homes, businesses, agricultural land and infrastructure. Many schemes will still receive full Government funding, whilst others will qualify for a contribution to the final cost. In many cases this government contribution will be worth 80 to 90 per cent of the full scheme cost.
This will replace the current model where schemes applying for money are typically either funded in full by Government or not at all.
Payment rates from Government will be highest in areas most at risk from flooding and in the most deprived areas of the country, meaning that schemes in these areas are more likely to qualify for full funding. Environmental benefits achieved by schemes will also help boost the amount of funding the scheme receives.
Under the new scheme each area will have a lot more influence over which projects go ahead because decisions will be made at a local level by regional committees who can better decide where government funding is most needed.
Environment Minister Richard Benyon said:
“This new funding system means more flood defence schemes will benefit from Government money so we can protect more people and properties. Many schemes in areas at high risk will continue to receive full funding from government, whilst others will receive large contributions that will go a long way towards meeting the amount needed for the defence to be built.
“Where additional contributions are needed, we will be working in partnership with local communities to find ways of securing private investment from those who will benefit from the added protection. This will mean that local communities have a much greater say in how and where schemes are built and are no longer hampered in their ambitions by what Government alone can afford.”
Where schemes do not qualify for full Government funding, the Environment Agency will work in partnership with local communities and other interested parties to lower costs or secure additional sources of private funding, such as from businesses or developers who stand to benefit from the additional protection a flood defence will bring.
For the first time, funding will also be available for surface water management schemes and property level protection as well as traditional flood and coastal erosion defences.
Schemes already under construction are not affected by these changes.
The first National Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management Strategy has also been laid before Parliament today. Subject to parliamentary approval it will be formally adopted later this year. The strategy takes forward a number of recommendations made by Sir Michael Pitt in his review of the 2007 floods. These include giving the Environment Agency a strategic overview role of all sources of flood risk and formalising the roles and responsibilities for Government, local authorities, emergency services and community groups.
- The Defra response to the consultation on flood funding can be found at: http://archive.defra.gov.uk/corporate/consult/flood-coastal-erosion/index.htm
- A guide to the new funding arrangements can be found here: http://archive.defra.gov.uk/environment/flooding/funding/documents/flood-coastal-resilience-intro-guide.pdf
- The National Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management Strategy is required under the Flood and Water Management Act 2010. The strategy needs to be approved by Parliament before it can be formally adopted. More information about the strategy can be found here: www.environment-agency.gov.uk/fcermstrategy