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Cumbria’s approach to protecting communities from floods could be adopted across England

Rory Stewart MP
Rory Stewart MP

Cumbria’s new partnership approach, bringing together local knowledge and expertise with the best available data to better protect homes and business from future flooding, will help shape the way the Government manages the environment across England, Floods Minister Rory Stewart announced today ahead of the latest meeting of the Cumbria Floods Partnership group.

Attended by organisations and community groups from across the county, the partnership has re-examined the river systems in Cumbria from the source to the sea. Their aim is to identify ways of reducing flood risk and increasing resilience at the same time as delivering wider benefits to the local landscape, wildlife, water quality and economy.

Discussions at today’s meeting will feed into the Cumbria Flood Action Plan, to be published this Summer. The plan will outline what improvements may be needed to flood defences in the region, looking at upstream options to slow the flow in rivers to reduce peak water flows and how to increase resilience through building stronger links between local residents, businesses and organisations.

Minister Rory Stewart said: “Cumbria is an excellent example of the success that comes from working together. The floods in December were devastating, but through the Environment Agency, Government, land owners and local groups coming together we have shown that, collectively, Cumbria has the strength to fight back.

“From greater tree planting to upland storage reservoirs, dredging, clearing, our 25-year plan for nature and traditional flood defences, every area needs its own tailored plan which requires local knowledge and expertise – that’s why we have the Cumbria Floods Partnership and I hope to see it serve as a flexible model across the country.”

Following December’s flooding, work continues in Cumbria with a £10 million flood defence repair programme underway, and up to £58 million investment available to better protect more than 3,500 homes across the county over the next five years.

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