My honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Natural Environment and Fisheries (Richard Benyon) has today made the following Statement.
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 additional to the continuing construction of over 80 schemes, a total of 60 new schemes will begin construction in the coming year. When complete these new schemes will give over 25,000 homes a better level of protection from the devastating effects of flooding and coastal erosion.
This Government will spend £2.17 billion on managing the risk of flooding and coastal erosion over this spending period (April 2011-March 2015). We have prioritised areas of severe flood and coastal erosion risk, and households in deprived communities. Of the 145,000 homes that will be better protected by 2015, around half will be in areas of significant flood risk and almost 15,000 homes will be both at significant flood risk and in the most deprived parts of the country.
New estimates show that the risk management authorities are on track to exceed the goal of better protecting 145,000 homes by March 2015. This is in part due to the new partnership approach to funding that has helped secure £72 million of external contributions for projects over the next three years. Regional Flood and Coastal Committees, which include local authority representatives, have worked with local communities to attract flood defence funding from external sources such as businesses, private investors and local authorities. For example, in South Derbyshire, Nestlé has contributed £1.7 million to a £7 million scheme to protect 1,600 homes and further financial contributions have been made from industry, the community and local landowners. A scheme in Water End, York, which was turned down for funding last year, is going ahead after the Environment Agency worked with York City Council to agree a package of cost reductions and partnership contributions.
Other schemes that will go ahead next year include Warrington in Cheshire, protecting over 2,000 households, Salmons Brook in North London, protecting over 1,300 households, and Godmanchester in Cambridgeshire, protecting over 300 households. The Environment Agency has also committed to increasing the number of households receiving free flood warnings to over 1.1 million.
The full programme of schemes going ahead in 2012-13 alongside a provisional programme for future years will be published on the Environment Agency website later today.