Up to £170m is being made available by the government for so-called shovel-ready flood defence schemes set to begin construction in 2020 or 2021.
The funding is part of a £5.2bn investment to create around 2,000 new flood and coastal defences to better protect 336,000 properties in England by 2027. £200m will be spent on sustainable drainage systems and temporary or permanent water storage areas. The government claims the plan will see the delivery of flood and coastal defences to prevent £32bn in economic damage.
Changes are proposed also to the joint government and insurance industry Flood Re scheme that would allow claims to include an additional amount for flood resilience to be included in repairs. Households that have property flood resilience measures in place to benefit from lower premiums.
In a statement, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “Last winter I saw for myself the misery and upheaval that flooding can bring to lives and livelihoods and I said we would do more to help people.
“This long-term plan will help push back the flood waters and protect hundreds of thousands of homes, businesses and livelihoods.”
Shovel-ready flood defence schemes include a project in Sheffield and the Upper Don Valley to protect over 650 businesses and help deliver 70,000 new jobs in the city; £21m for the Leeds Phase 2 Flood Alleviation Scheme, which will protect more than 370 businesses and 3,300 jobs; a tidal barrier and flood walls in Lowestoft and the Suffolk Coast to protect key infrastructure and businesses; and two flood schemes in Tenbury Wells and the Severn Valley to protect nearly 3,000 homes in areas badly affected by last winter’s floods. This is expected to protect and create over 22,000 jobs along the Severn Valley.
Responding to today’s announcement, Prof Hannah Cloke, Professor of Hydrology at Reading University said: “This announcement provides some welcome details behind some of the promises on flooding in the Chancellor’s Budget statement. In effect, the government is backing the recommendations of the National Flood Resilience Review and what many scientists, agencies and flood-affected communities have been calling for for many years.
“Dealing with flooding shows precisely the difficulties behind [Boris Johnson’s] promise to build better, faster and greener. Sometimes being better and greener requires building more slowly and carefully, or we risk long-term economic and social costs that we cannot afford.”