The cash, which will allow local authorities to carry out flood risk assessments, will help pinpoint the high flood risk areas allowing future defences to be put where they are needed most.

Environment Minister Richard Benyon said: “Dealing with flooding is a matter that this government takes very seriously and our Structural Reform Plan launched earlier this month commits us to implementing the findings of the Pitt Review to improve our flood defences.

“Local authorities clearly have a vital role in managing flood risk and we aim to give them all the support we can, not only through funding for defences, but also by providing guidance on planning for a flood and training for staff.”

The National Flood Emergency Framework was also published this week.

The document gives guidance for councils and others on planning for and responding to floods.

It is meant as a one-stop-shop flood planning reference point and will be updated on a regular basis, the government has pledged. Mr Benyon also announced a raft of other flood-related policy.

The first is publication of a draft strategy for building local authority skills and knowledge in flood risk management.

It has been developed in partnership with the Local Government Association and the Environment Agency.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has been working with the Environment Agency to train local authority staff.

A cohort of 22 trainees is shortly due to complete the first year of their foundation degree and another 25 are due to start in September.

Mr Benyon also revealed DEFRA is planning two consultations later this year.
One will establish national standards for sustainable drainage systems, the other, the transfer of private sewer ownership to water companies.

David Gibbs

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