[T]housands of properties across England will be better protected against the threat of flooding thanks to a multi-million pound investment by the government, Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey confirmed today (Friday 20 July).
Across the country 13 flood schemes will benefit from £40 million of additional funding which will unlock flood defence schemes and help support economic growth and regeneration in areas that have suffered from flooding in recent years.
The additional funding, first announced in the budget, adds to millions of pounds of government grant -in- aid already allocated to these projects and partnership funding already secured. It will help leverage an additional £24 million from other sources, enabling the flood schemes to go ahead. In total, more than 7000 properties will be better protected against flooding, including over 5,000 homes. This additional money is part of our £2.6 billion investment from 2015 to 2021 to fund 1,500 flood defence schemes which will better protect 300,000 homes across the country.
Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey said: “This extra funding for flood defences will unlock schemes that will better protect thousands of homes and businesses against flooding, supporting regeneration in important towns and villages in the north and coastal communities.
“It will boost our resilience as a nation and help our communities to grow and prosper.”
Five flood schemes in the north of England will receive almost half of the total funding – £17.4m – including the Skirting Beck defence improvements scheme at Egremont, which will see three new flood storage areas created in addition to the upsizing of culverts, reducing the flood risk to the area and protecting 220 residential properties.
The new funding for flood defences in the north of England adds to the £3.4 billion already invested into the Northern Powerhouse to build a more prosperous and inclusive economy where everybody has the opportunity to reach their full potential.
An EA Spokesperson said: “This funding is great news for Egremont and ensures that our plans for flood defences within the area, as discussed with the local community, can progress to the next stage.
“We have been working alongside Copeland Borough Council, Cumbria County Council Home Group Housing Association, Castles & Coasts Housing Association and other partners to provide increased protection to the residents of Egremont and the surrounding area, and securing this funding is an important step to ensure our local flood resilience is both in place and improved.
“We are delighted to be able to share this good news with the residents of Egremont, and going forward, we will continue to work with our partners to look for opportunities to reduce the risk of flooding and provide support for our at risk communities across Cumbria.”
Copeland Mayor, Mike Starkie said: “This is great news for Egremont residents and we look forward to seeing the work begin. It’s an area that has suffered repeated flooding problems and we know this was a huge concern for residents. Copeland Council, not least our Egremont Councillors Sam Pollen and Neil Ferguson, has been at the forefront of some excellent partnership working that will lead to a hundreds of people and their homes being kept safe and dry.”
Councillor Keith Little, Cumbria County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport added: “We welcome the additional funding support to the Egremont scheme which is essential for the implementation in the reduction of risk of river and surface water flooding to the community.”
Minister Thérèse Coffey added: “The north of England is a hotbed of culture, innovation and growth and this multi-million investment in flood schemes will help protect more than 2,700 homes and businesses from flooding.
“The defences will also enhance the environment and bolster economic growth as part of our commitment to better protect 300,000 homes from flooding by 2021.”
Over the past three years, the Environment Agency has completed more than 400 new flood schemes to better protect more than 142,000 homes. In addition to building hard defences, it has improved its response by investing in new technology and equipment like temporary flood barriers, pumps and 6,500 trained staff across the country.
Sir James Bevan, Chief Executive of the Environment Agency, said: “Across the country we are seeing more extreme weather, which makes the Environment Agency’s role to protect people, homes and businesses from flooding even more important.
“From 2015 to 2021 we will reduce the risk of flooding for at least 300,000 homes so this £40million is another welcome boost to achieving that. It is great news for communities – not only will it help us build flood schemes but it will also help wider economic growth.”