New flood defence schemes announced

The Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) have outlined 39 new flood and coastal defence projects to reduce the risk of flooding.

The projects will provide additional protection to over 13,000 households from the risk of flooding and will also cover repairs to existing defences.

Spending on new schemes and completion of projects underway will total £521 million over the next year. It will also cover the maintenance of existing defences, developing flood forecasting technologies and heightening public awareness.

It is expected that the government will spend around £2.1 billion on flooding and coastal erosion over the next four years.

Funding for schemes starting in 2012/13 and beyond will be subject to the outcomes of the current consultation on funding reforms.

Environment Agency chairman Lord Chris Smith said: "We will continue to protect as many homes and businesses as we can.

"We have plans to work on 147 river and coastal flood defence schemes in the next financial year which, when completed, will increase protection to thousands of homes."

The government is also looking to private enterprise to shore up the finances. Lord Smith said: "We will also seek financial contributions from organisations such as developers and businesses who directly benefit from these defence schemes.

Doing so will allow our funds to be stretched further and mean more can be done overall."

Next month Defra, the Cabinet Office, the Welsh Assembly Government and the Environment Agency will conduct 'Exercise Watermark' to test the country's arrangements to respond to severe, wide-area flooding. Alison Brown



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