£18m for flood battered North East

The North East of England will see a surge of extra cash for flood defences schemes in the coming financial year as it benefits from its share of increased national funding to protect against extreme weather.

The region will see a total of £18.3m for schemes that will protect against flooding and coastal erosion, a significant increase on the £9.7m it received in the last financial year.

The Environment Agency nationally will receive a total of £745 million for 2010/2011 for schemes across England and Wales.

Major schemes in the North East will include almost £400,000 to progress plans for flood defences in Morpeth, a town hit by floods in 2008.

Construction of the proposed £17m scheme is scheduled to start in late 2011 and finish in late 2013, providing increased protection to over 1,000 properties.

The seaside town of Redcar will receive £5m towards a £17 million scheme to reduce the risk of coastal flooding to more than 1,000 properties.

Construction of the scheme will start in autumn this year.

It will raise the sea wall and replace the ageing defences, and take account of rising sea levels caused by climate change. It is intended to reduce coastal erosion and flood risk for the next 100 years.

The Environment Agency’s north east flood and coastal risk manager Ian Hodge said: “This is excellent news for people across the north east. We, together with our partners such as local authorities, will invest over £18 million on protecting lives and property from flooding and coastal erosion in the year to March 2011.

“The 2007 floods cost homeowners, businesses, emergency services and others some £3.2 billion. The high costs of flooding underline the importance of continued investment in reducing flood risk, particularly in face of the more frequent and heavy storms and rising sea levels that will come with climate change.

“Whilst continued investment is crucial, flooding cannot always be prevented so communities must also take responsibility for being prepared – for example by signing up to the Environment Agency’s free flood warning service.”

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