£500,000 to shore-up flood defencesBy Paul Cassell
January 29, 2013
Flood defence schemes in Berkshire will benefit from a share of an extra £500,000 to help protect homes and communities across London and the Thames Valley.
The Environment Agency’s regional flood and coastal committee (RFCC) has confirmed a £10.5 million funding package for 2013/14.
The committee, made up of representatives from local authorities across the South East, also voted to increase funding levels in future years to meet the increasing need to fund adequate flood defences for their communities.
RFCC chairwoman Amanda Nobbs said: “I am extremely pleased that our committee members have voted to provide a contribution of £10.5m to help manage flood risk in local communities.
“This clearly demonstrates the local authorities’ commitment to managing flood risk and the priority they give to this work, despite the current economic challenges they face.”
The investment will be used to reduce flood risk to “some of the most significant areas of undefended risk in the country” and address surface water flooding, which has become worse in recent years because of extreme rainfall.
The money will be used in conjunction with Central Government funding to deliver projects in Berkshire, Oxfordshire Wiltshire, Buckinghamshire, Hampshire, Gloucestershire, London and parts of Essex, which are expected to be announced in February.
The projects will aim to offer greater protection to 1.7 million people at risk of flooding from the Thames or its tributaries and the 3.8 million people at risk from surface water flooding.
Peter Quarmby, Environment Agency regional flood risk manager, said: “It is more cost effective to invest to reduce flood risk than it is to manage the aftermath of flooding and its economic and social consequences.
“This year defences prevented flooding to 35,000 homes, about 84,000 people, and delivered greater protection to 18,640 properties. The annual RFCC funding is vital to helping reduce flood risk and demonstrates the ongoing commitment that local authorities have.
“The further commitment to increasing funding will enable more effective long-term planning of flood risk reduction, which in turn will offer greater levels of community protection.
“A longer term approach to levy setting will also attract additional contributions, which are playing an increasingly important role in funding new schemes.”
The Environment Agency provides a free 24-hour flood warning service. Call 0845 988 1188 or visit www.environment-agency.gov.uk/flood