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Floods: Coronavirus

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 17th June 2020.

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Photo of Ruth Jones Ruth Jones Labour, Newport West

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on the effect of the Covid-19 outbreak on communities recovering from the 2019 winter floods.

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

The Secretary of State recognises the impact of COVID-19 on flood-affected householders and businesses and sympathises with those affected.

Flood recovery is a devolved matter and in England the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government is the lead Government department for recovery.

In response to the flood events of 2019 and 2020, the Government activated the Flood Recovery Framework in England. This framework aims to help people get back on their feet as quickly as possible. Defra leads on two recovery schemes: the Property Flood Resilience (PFR) Scheme and the Farming Recovery Fund (FRF). The PFR fund enables eligible flood-affected properties to receive up to £5,000 to improve their resilience to future flooding. Both the November 2019 and February 2020 schemes remain open despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Defra officials are working closely with local authorities to monitor the situation and provide support if necessary.

Officials are also in close contact with the Association of British Insurers (ABI) to understand the progress insurers are making within the recovery process in light of COVID-19. In general, insurers are stepping up their use of technology to work around the need to be in properties in person. They have access to the required protective equipment where needed, and suitable accommodation is being found where required. The ABI has been active in providing customers with regular updates and keeping officials informed of the progress on the ground.

The FRF was opened to support the recovery from the June and July 2019 floods in North Yorkshire and Lincolnshire. This was extended to cover the further flooding in parts of South Yorkshire, Gloucestershire and the Midlands in November 2019. Delivery is unaffected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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