Floods: Grants

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 12th February 2021.

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Photo of Daniel Kawczynski Daniel Kawczynski Conservative, Shrewsbury and Atcham

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will take steps to allocate grant funding to those who have been affected the most by flooding.

Photo of Daniel Kawczynski Daniel Kawczynski Conservative, Shrewsbury and Atcham

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to fairly assess people who have been affected by flooding on an individual basis for grant funding.

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

Flooding has a devastating impact on communities, businesses and individuals.

With localised flooding incidents, local authorities are expected to have well established contingency arrangements in place and to be able to respond and support their local communities from within existing budgets.

The decision to trigger financial support from Government is taken collectively by Ministers in the event of a severe weather events with significant wide area impacts. In reaching a decision, Ministers consider factors such as severity, duration and extent of the impacts. The reported impacts from Storm Christoph up until now have been lower than would justify activation of the Flood Recovery Framework of support schemes. We continue to monitor the impact on affected areas and will assess whether further support is needed.

During the unprecedented flooding in November 2019 and the storms which followed in winter 2019/2020, the Government announced Property Flooding Resilience (PFR) repair grants of up to £5,000 to help eligible properties affected by floods (homes, charities and businesses) become more flood resilient. The repair grants apply to those affected in district or unitary authorities that have 25 or more severely flooded properties. The grants are administered by eligible local authorities, with Defra reimbursing local authorities for grants paid for eligible properties. Local authorities are responsible for assessing eligibility of applications. The most recent figures show that 47 district or unitary councils with over 7000 properties are eligible in England for the November 2019 and February 2020 PFR repair schemes. This includes 458 properties in the county of Shropshire.

The Government has doubled the amount it invests in the flood and coastal defence programme in England to £5.2 billion over six years. This will better protect a further 336,000 properties including homes and non-residential properties such as schools and hospitals. On 1 February 2021, Defra published a Call for Evidence to explore whether any specific changes should be made to strengthen the assessment of local circumstances in this programme. This includes looking at potential changes to the funding formula to provide further benefit to frequently flooded communities. It will also explore further ways to increase the uptake of property flood resilience measures to enable householders and businesses to better prepare for flooding. The Call for Evidence closes on 29 March 2021.

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