Defra releases record funding for flood and coastal defences

Environment Minister Elliot Morley has announced record levels of spending on flood and coastal defence projects for 2005-06 this week.

The total funding for 2005-06 will be £570 million. From this, the sum allocated to the traditional Defra improvement programme is £169 million - more than double the 1997 level of £82 million. Overall the funding has increased by £90 million from 2004-05.

"These large sums clearly demonstrate the government's commitment to invest to manage flood and coastal erosion risk and the extra threat from rising sea levels," Mr Morley said.

Out of the total budget of £570 million, the Environment Agency will receive £443 million, with local authorities and internal drainage boards sharing £54 million between them. The high level of spending will also be maintained during the three years of the spending review 2004 period to 2007-08.

"Operating authorities will invest this money to achieve the government's objectives. Defra's target is to reduce risk to people and assets - including for some 80,000 households nationally between April 2003 and March 2006. Achieving this will be challenging but operating authorities are on track to do so," Mr Morley added.

Major projects likely to be funded include Shoreham & Lancing sea defences; London Tidal defences; River Calder & Walsden Water in West Yorkshire; and the Sandylands Frontage in Morecambe/Heysham.

The grant is designed to cover all the Environment Agency's flood management activities as well as support local authority and internal drainage board improvement projects.

By David Hopkins



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