One hundred and sixty-one schemes are due to start this financial year, as part of our £2.3 billion, six-year programme, which will protect an additional 300,000 properties by 2021. That represents a real-terms increase in flood investment.
Will the Secretary of State join me in welcoming the work of the three internal drainage boards that affect my constituency, Witham first district IDB, Witham third district IDB and Upper Witham IDB? What steps will the Government take to ensure that the Environment Agency, which is lackadaisical in my local area, and other parties work together more effectively for the benefit of my constituents in Lincoln and the people of Lincolnshire?
Like my hon. Friend, I am a huge fan of internal drainage boards. We have some fantastic drainage boards in Norfolk and I have visited the internal drainage boards in Boston. I want internal drainage boards to work closely with the Environment Agency to continue to protect homes and farmland. I would like this model to be rolled out across the country.
The coalition Government announced £80 million to protect the Humber estuary over six years. That is only 9% of what the Environment Agency said was required. Does the Secretary of State agree that investment in flood defences can be seen as an economic opportunity, rather than as a burden that has to be borne?
I completely agree with the hon. Lady that investment in flood defences is an economic opportunity. Our six-year programme will result in the generation of £30 billion of economic value. We are committed to looking at the Humber plans and are due to report back on them in July.