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Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management (England)

Volume 558: debated on Thursday 7 February 2013

I am today, in conjunction with the Environment Agency, announcing details of flood and coastal erosion risk management schemes going ahead in the next financial year in England.

A total of 93 new flood defence schemes are being funded to move into construction in 2013-14, which when completed will provide better protection from the devastating effects of flooding to 64,000 homes.

This Government are on course to spend £2.3 billion on flooding and coastal erosion risk management in England over this spending period (April 2011 to March 2015). This is being supplemented by up to £148 million, contributed by local councils, businesses and private investors under the new partnership funding system introduced in May 2011. This extra investment is helping to deliver better protection to more communities than previously thought possible. Risk management authorities are now on track to deliver better protection to 165,000 homes by March 2015, exceeding the target set at the start of the spending period by 20,000.

I can also announce that nine schemes, including Leeds, Sheffield, Ipswich, Exeter and Derby, will receive a share of the funding announced in the autumn statement last year. These schemes will unlock economic growth, create jobs and grow the economy. For example, Exeter’s new flood defences will create over 1,000 jobs and protect businesses which employ 4,700 people. The defences will provide better protection to land for business development as well as major rail and sewerage infrastructure and over 2,000 homes. In Ipswich, a tidal barrier will improve flood protection to 10 hectares of development land attracting more business to the area and creating 4,000 jobs.

Last year I announced that the new partnership funding system had brought forward £72 million of contributions over the three years to March 2015. During its second year the figure has now doubled to £148 million over the same period. This is enabling more schemes to proceed than would have been possible if the old all-or-nothing funding system had remained. Schemes with significant partner contributions include the £50.5 million growth scheme in Leeds that will protect 250 businesses and create over 18,000 jobs. To supplement Government’s investment, Leeds city council is contributing £10 million towards the cost of the scheme, with a further £5 million proposed to be raised from local businesses.

Other schemes made possible as a result of the new system include new sea defences at Anchorsholme in Lancashire, which will reduce the risk of flooding to 6,000 homes and highway, tramway and sewerage infrastructure. Blackpool borough council is contributing £4 million toward the total cost of £28.4 million. The combination of extra funding in the autumn statement, backed by partnership funding contributions, will allow a £9.7 million scheme to go ahead in Skipton, North Yorkshire. This will reduce flooding to over 350 residential and 165 business properties in the market town with £2 million coming from local authorities and businesses.

The full programme of schemes going ahead in 2013-14 alongside a provisional programme for future years will be published on the Environment Agency website later today.