EA funding boost will help fight floods

Flood risk management, climate change adaptation, and cracking down on environmental crime will be among the Environment Agency's top priorities for 2008-09, bosses have announced.

The agency said the three areas will be among the most important areas of expenditure over the next month, following the announcement of increased Government funding for the agency.

Ministers confirmed last month that funding would rise to £796m, giving the agency a budget of more than £1.1bn for the coming year.

“We have a lot of work to do this coming year,” Environment Agency chief executive Barbara Young said.

“Flood risk management, climate change adaptation, water resources, river quality, agricultural pollution and cracking down on environmental crime are just a few of the things that are on the top of our list.”

By far the largest amount of money will be spent on flood risk management and defences, with about £679m earmarked for investment in capital projects planned by the agency, local authorities and independent bodies responsible for drainage.

Ms Young added: “Long-term investment in flood risk management is essential if we are to adapt to the global warming that is already locked into the weather system.

“The additional funding will be used to develop flood defences and warning systems and to protect a further 145,000 houses from flooding.”

The agency said it will also face a number of new challenges this year, including catchment sensitive farming, delivering the Water Framework Directive and EU directives on waste exports, landfill and batteries.

It will also implement a new permitting regime in April, which is set to streamline more than 40 pieces of legislation into one regime and will include more online interactive services.

Kate Martin

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