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Flooding

Volume 716: debated on Tuesday 19 January 2010

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what payments they have made to (a) local authorities, and (b) other bodies, in connection with the flooding in 2007. [HL960]

In the wake of the summer floods of 2007, the Government committed to the effective management of flood and coastal erosion risk. Spending across central and local government has increased from £307 million in 1996-97 to £660 million in 2008-09, £715 million in 2009-10 and is set to reach £780 million in 2010-11.

The Government made available a comprehensive package of over £136 million to assist those affected by the 2007 floods. Funding given to local authorities included:

£18.8 million funding through the Bellwin scheme which provides financial assistance to local authorities dealing with emergencies;

£18.4 million from the Department for Communities and Local Government (CLG) for flood recovery grants to support the recovery work of local authorities, and particularly their work with those in greatest and most immediate need;

around £41 million from the Department for Transport for repairs to local highways;

£13.5 million from the Department for Children, Schools and Families for schools and children's services affected by the floods;

over £1.2 million from CLG for local authorities giving council tax discounts, so families do not face council tax bills for homes they could not live in; and

local authorities received £30.6 million from CLG's Restoration Fund, and were free to spend it according to local priorities.

Other main recipients of the £136 million support package included:

regional development agencies provided £10 million in support of business and economic recovery in the affected areas;

the Department for Work and Pensions paid Community Care Grants and Crisis Loans totalling £810,891 to people on qualifying benefits to meet the cost of replacing essential household items; and

VisitBritain received £1 million from the Department for Culture Media and Sport to support rural tourism in England through promoting rural destinations and visitor attractions.

Following the 2007 floods, Sir Michael Pitt carried out a review of the event. The Government set aside £34.5 million to implement Sir Michael's review.

The table below provides details of how much has been allocated to date. It shows that a total of £20.2 million has been allocated to individual agencies and bodies by Defra.

Allocation to:

Allocation (£m)

Allocated by Dec 2009

To deliver:

Local Authorities

£15 million

£10 million between 80 local authorities

Local authority leadership on flood risk management in the highest priority areas, including surface water management plans, tackling surface water problems, mapping of drainage assets, and oversight and maintenance of sustainable drainage systems for new housing, etc.

Environment Agency and Met Office

£5.0 million

£3.76 million

A new joint forecasting and warning centre, including the extreme rainfall alert.

Environment Agency

£8.5 million

£5 million

All other recommendations where the Environment Agency leads, including its new strategic overview of all types of flood risk in England, better modelling, forecasting and mapping for flooding, particularly surface water, roll-out of ex-directory flood warnings, reservoir inundation maps, and a national flooding exercise to test the new response arrangements.

Met Office

£0.5 million

£230,000

Research to make use of new detailed forecasting models for flooding.

Cabinet Office

£0.4 million

£0.2 million

New team within the Civil Contingencies Secretariat to run a national campaign to improve the resilience of critical national infrastructure.

Others

£10,000

£10,000

To fund the Risk and Regulatory Advisory Council to consider the communication of flood risk to the public.

Contingency

£5.1 million

£1.0 million

To provide a contingency fund in case allocations need to be increased in some areas, and to include: up to £2 million for an improved flood rescue capability; up to £1.25 million to support the production of reservoir emergency plans by local resilience forums. Funds have also been provided to the following additional activities announced since the Government's response.

£750,000 to support local authority flood risk management apprenticeships this year and next. A further £250,000 is being funded from other budgets.

£140,000 to fund a reservoir inundation mapping tool.

Total

£34.5 million

£20.2 million

From: Annex A of the Progress Report on the Government's Response to Sir Michael Pitt's Review (published 15 December 2009).