Storms: North West

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered at on 8 February 2024.

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Photo of Conor McGinn Conor McGinn Independent, St Helens North

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent steps he has taken with relevant authorities to improve storm (a) resilience and (b) recovery efforts in (i) the North West and (ii) St Helens.

Photo of Robbie Moore Robbie Moore The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

(a) The Environment Agency (EA) is investing £748 million in the current capital programme (2021-27) to reduce the impact of flooding across the North West.

The EA has 850 assets in the Greater Manchester, Merseyside and Cheshire area which it operates and maintains, and staff available 24/7 to respond to incidents. The EA’s network of river telemetry informs its operation of the Flood Warning Service which helps at risk communities prepare for flooding. As part of the recovery from storms, the EA inspects its assets for damage and to confirm that they have operated as expected and meets with communities on the ground to determine the extent of flooding.

The EA attends regular operational meetings with St Helens Borough Council (BC) and United Utilities to review flood risk management issues and solutions. The EA is supporting St Helens BC on updating its multi-agency emergency flood plan and in the development of two new flood risk schemes – Black Brook and Rainford Brook. St Helens BC has an allocation of £769k towards flood defence schemes in the current capital programme

The EA conducts a routine maintenance programme in 13 locations in St Helens to reduce flood risk. It has completed removal of a silt island in Windle Brook, at the silt trap immediately upstream from Dilloway Street debris screen, in the previous 12 months to improve channel capacity and flow.

(b) The Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities activated the Flood Recovery Framework on 6 January. For the Storm Henk Flood Recovery Framework activation, eligible areas are those upper and lower tier authority areas:

  • reporting over 50 internally flooded properties (any combination of households and businesses) at their Lead Local Flood Authority (LLFA) level; and
  • with properties flooded as a direct result of Storm Henk; and
  • with properties flooded between the dates of 2 January 2024 and 12 January 2024.

Local Authorities and LLFAs are responsible for distributing funding to affected people. They are able to do as soon as they notify the Government their area becomes eligible so the scheme can be extended. Government funding for eligible properties will be paid to Local Authorities retrospectively, based on the certified cost of providing relief.

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