To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent steps he has taken to reduce flood risk to communities that experienced flooding in the last 12 months.
This government is acting to drive down flood risk from every angle. In March 2020, we announced a record £5.2 billion investment to build 2,000 new flood defences over the next 6 years. This investment will better protect 336,000 properties from flooding and coastal erosion. The government also announced a £120 million package to repair assets damaged as a result of last winter’s flooding – recognising the importance that maintenance of assets has on ensuring our network of defences are effective in a changing climate.
The government published a long-term Policy Statement in July setting out our ambition to create a nation more resilient to future flood and coastal erosion risk. The Policy Statement outlines five ambitious policies and over 40 supporting actions?which we will take to?accelerate progress to?better protect and better prepare the country against flooding and coastal erosion in the face of more frequent extreme weather as a result of climate change. These actions will help to reduce the likelihood of flooding and coastal erosion and ensure that we are better prepared to reduce impacts when flooding happens.
In July, we announced an additional £170 million to accelerate the building of 22 flood schemes across the country. In addition to our investment in the flood and coastal defences we are also investing £200 million between 2021 and 2027 to support 25 local areas – urban, rural and coastal – to test innovative actions to improve resilience to flooding and coastal erosion.
Following the flooding events in November 2019 and February 2020, the Environment Agency (EA) has carried out approximately 20,000 post-incident inspections. These inspections are now complete and the results have been used to plan projects for the EA’s recovery programme that will deliver asset repairs. The EA are making sure that any flood defences and equipment damaged during last winter’s floods are either fixed or will have robust contingency plans, such as temporary defences, in place by 31 October.