The North West Regional Flood Defence Committee (RFDC), comprised of representatives from the Environment Agency, local authorities and the Ministry of Agriculture (MAFF), agreed on 12 January to increase the region’s flood defence funding by 6% to £25.9 million. The region includes Cheshire, Greater Manchester, Merseyside, Lancashire and Cumbria, and work programmes includes new phases of flood defence schemes at Salford and Chapel-en-le-Frith, and a new scheme near Burnley.

The Agency also plans to carry out vital maintenance work on existing flood defences, and to make improvements to its flood forecasting systems.

“I am delighted that the committee has endorsed the very important programme of work we have planned,” said Jeff Lawrensen, the Agency’s Regional Flood Defence Manager. “Despite very heavy rainfall in October and November, the amount of flooding in the North West was nothing like the scale experienced in other parts of the country. This was due largely to previous investment in both maintenance and in new flood defence schemes. However, we cannot be complacent, and the levy agreed by the committee will allow us to carry out essential maintenance and improved flood defences and forecasting, so we can continue to protect people in the North West.”

Most of the funding for flood defences is obtained through a levy on local authorities, voted for by RDFC’s local authority representatives. Other funding, in the form of grant aid for major construction projects, is available from MAFF.

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