Environment Agency welcomes new flood defence funding
The Environment Agency is to receive an additional £11.6 million for emergency and repair costs of the autumn floods in England, the Countryside Minister, Elliot Morley, announced on 26 January.
Sir John Harman, Chairman of the Environment Agency has welcomed the announcement, stating that the immediate emergency and repair bill would otherwise have taken up a significant portion of next year’s budget, which can now be spent on improvements in flood warning and protection.
“I am delighted with this news,” said Harman. “Elliot Morley has secured an excellent package. The money will pay for repairs to flood defences and the emergency operation mounted to deal with what was truly exceptional flooding. The Government has recognised the pressures that the autumn floods placed on existing funds and the Flood Defence Committees.”
Of the extra funding, nearly £45 million will go to Yorkshire, £2.5 million to the Midlands and £2.1 million to Hampshire, Sussex and Kent, according to the Agency. The remainder is allocated to the South West, the Thames catchment and the North East.
“There was, and still is, a tremendous effort by the Environment Agency, the emergency services, local authorities, army and many volunteers as a result of the floods,” said Harman. “The scale of the task means that repairs to flood defences are still now taking place now. In Yorkshire alone, 2000km of banks and defences had to be surveyed to ensure their integrity.”
“We have to remember too that the impact for people flooded is still very real as well,” he added. “For victims the cost can be emotional as well as financial. The process of cleaning up and repairing homes can be difficult and long.”