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Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 24th February 2020.

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Photo of Clive Lewis Clive Lewis Shadow Minister (Treasury)

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what the cost to the public purse has been of flood damage in the UK in each of the last three years.

Photo of Rebecca Pow Rebecca Pow The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The Environment Agency (EA) does not hold records that show cost to the public purse from flood damage on an annual basis. It reviews the total economic damages after significant flood events in England.

The EA has published reports for the flood events of 2007, 2013/14 and 2015/16. It has also estimated the economic damages of the recent widespread flooding that took place in November 2019.

Total economic costs of the summer 2007 floods in England are estimated at £3.9 billion, inflation adjusted to 2015 prices.

Total economic costs of the winter 2013 to 2014 floods in England and Wales are estimated at £1.3 billion, inflation adjusted to 2015 prices.

Total economic costs of the winter 2015 to 2016 floods in England are estimated at £1.6 billion at 2015 prices.

The estimated economic damages for the November 2019 floods in England are £78 million and repair costs to defences around £120 million. Without flood defences, the economic damages could have been £1.6 billion higher. In other words, defences have helped to reduce the damages by 95%. The impacts during November 2019 would also have been significantly higher without the significant investment in flood risk management since 2007, when these areas also experienced extreme rainfall.

There is currently an ongoing research project funded by the Joint Research Programme to capture, calculate and store data on the economic costs of floods. Among other benefits, this project will allow the EA to better analyse flood impact data. Improved consistency in how data is recorded will enable economic damages to be compared across flood events and years.

The EA will produce estimates of economic damage to England for Storm Ciara and Storm Dennis once the full extent of the impacts are known.

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