Landfill: Coastal Areas

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered at on 7 May 2024.

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Photo of Sally-Ann Hart Sally-Ann Hart Conservative, Hastings and Rye

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to help prevent (a) flooding and (b) erosion of former coastal landfill sites; whether funding is available to local authorities to tackle that matter; and if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of using under-spend from the Environment Agency's capital programme for that purpose.

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

Since 2010, the Government has invested around £6 billion to better protect over 600,000 properties from flooding and coastal erosion.

The Government is investing £5.6 billion between 2021 and 2027 to better protect communities across England from flooding and coastal erosion. All of the £5.6 billion is expected to have been invested by 2027. This investment includes a record £5.2 billion capital investment programme, a £200 million Flood and Coastal Innovation Programme, £170 million for economic recovery from flooding and over £30 million of funding for flood incident management. The amount to be spent on coastal erosion and sea flooding is forecast to be around £1.3 billion between April 2021 and March 2027.

.Responsibility for managing both coastal change and legacy coastal landfill sites lies with the relevant coastal protection authorities. Local authorities’ waste powers are defined under the Environmental Protection Act 1990. The Environment Agency has recently worked with local authorities to update Shoreline Management Plans to reflect action required at the coast, including to manage landfill at risk, and is also updating public maps showing projections of future erosion risk.

Local authorities receive revenue funding for local services through the Local Government Settlement. The Local Government Finance Settlement for 2024-25 makes available over £64.7 billion, an increase in Core Spending Power of up to £4.5 billion or 7.5% in cash terms on 2023-24. 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, including on flood and coastal erosion risk management.

The Government recognises that for some historic coastal landfill (HCL) sites, understanding the impacts and therefore remediation priorities may not be clear. We have commissioned a project to complete a national assessment of the situation to provide us with a clear and up to date understanding of the scale of risks posed by HCL sites in England. This will support national and local understanding of the issues, including enabling informed decisions on priority actions needed. The project is due to be completed by spring 2025.

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