Government flood risk fund will ‘unlock UK’s economic potential’

The Government is investing £294m in flood risk management this year, which will protect businesses and encourage new companies to 'set up shop', the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) announced today.

Defra has today approved 93 schemes across the UK that will improve protection for homes and businesses against the threat of flooding.

Environment Secretary Owen Paterson said: “The 93 schemes given the green light today will bring huge relief to tens of thousands of homes and businesses that have lived with the fear of flood waters hitting their doors. They can get on with their daily lives and work knowing that there are well built defences”.

The Government has provided additional funding for projects that will “unlock” economic growth and create jobs across the UK.

Schemes such as Exeter’s new flood defences will create over 1,000 jobs and protect businesses which employ 4,700 people, claims Defra.

This scheme will also provide better protection of land for business development as well as major rail and sewerage infrastructure and over 2,000 homes.

In Ipswich, a new tidal barrier will improve flood protection to ten hectares of development land, which, according to Defra, will attract more business to the area and create 4,000 jobs.

Paterson said: “This is also a message to the business community. By building defences that will unlock the economic potential of once blighted land we are saying to them that it is safe to come and set up. This will create jobs and grow the economy so we can compete in the global race.”

In November last year, environmental leaders warned that the risk of flooding and water shortage in 2013 has increased because the Government has been ‘too slow’ in taking action to improve water management in the UK.

According to the Met Office, 2012 was the second wettest year in the UK on record and that rainfall is set to increase.

Leigh Stringer

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