Flood Control: Local Government and Private Sector

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered at on 9 February 2024.

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Photo of Tim Farron Tim Farron Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Communities and Local Government)

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will publish a list of areas which lack (a) local authority resources and (b) private sector contributions to manage flood risk.

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

The Government is investing a record £5.2 billion between 2021 and 2027 in flood and coastal erosion schemes to better protect communities across England. Local authorities, which deliver some of these schemes, benefit from this investment.

Local authorities are also resourced to fulfil their statutory duties and have access to a range of revenue streams including the Local Government Finance Settlement. The local government finance settlement for 2024-25 will make available over £64.7 billion next year, an increase in Core Spending Power of up to £4.5 billion or 7.5% in cash terms on 2023-24. The Government announced an additional £3 million in grant funding for 2024/25 to support local authorities severely impacted by the increase in levies from internal drainage boards. The majority of local government funding is un-ringfenced, recognising that local authorities are best placed to decide how to meet the major service pressures in their local areas.

The Government is conducting an assessment of local flood and coastal risk compared to local authority spend. This work is ongoing and is expected to conclude by March 2024.

The Government’s £5.2 billion investment is distributed across the country where the risk is highest and the benefits are greatest. Around 60% of flood and coastal erosion projects are fully funded by this investment. Where the full costs of the project are not covered, contributions are needed from partners, the local community and other organisations. This provides a fair and consistent approach for allocating GiA and securing wider benefits where others stand to benefit from a defence scheme.

As of June 2023, the current capital programme had already secured £128 million in private sector contributions – more than double the £55 million secured across the whole of the previous six-year programme (2015 to 2021).

Government has also provided additional funding to schemes which meet specific objectives, to ensure that they can progress. For example, 23 projects have benefitted from additional government investment, on top of the £5.2 billion programme, through the £170 million Economic Recovery Funding announced in 2020.

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