Flooding

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:14 pm on 4th March 2020.

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Photo of George Eustice George Eustice The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 1:14 pm, 4th March 2020

I am going to make progress and conclude.

We are investing £2.6 billion in flood defences—over 1,000 flood defence schemes to better protect 300,000 homes by 2021. To date, we have completed 600 of those schemes, protecting over 200,000 homes. Were it not for projects such as those, 50,000 more homes would have been flooded in these recent events.

However, there is more to do. That is why the Government have a manifesto commitment to spend even more on flood defence in the years ahead, committing £4 billion in this Parliament further to improve our resilience and our ability to manage such events. The Government amendment, rather than proposing reviewing funding as the Opposition suggest, acknowledges the need for further investment. Our manifesto already commits us to further investment. I hope that this investment will not be opposed by Opposition Members.

We are determined to be ready for the future, and we know we must expect more frequent extreme weather in this country. So as well as investing even more money in flood defence, the Government are committed to leading a global response to climate change through our work around the world. As host of the next climate change conference, COP26, we will urge nations to achieve net zero in a way that helps nature recover, reduces global warming and addresses the causes of these extreme weather events.