Yorkshire’s Regional Flood Defence Committee voted for a 10% increase in the levy from local councils, who are contributing £21.8 million towards flood defence, with the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affair providing the remaining funding to meet the £36.6 million budget.

A review of long-term planning for flood defences showed that the original estimate for capital investment needed in Yorkshire by 2010 had more than doubled. Capital expenditure on flood defence schemes has increased from £7.6 million in 1999-2000 to £23.9 million in the 2003/04 financial year.

“The Yorkshire region suffered further flooding in February and August last year and it is important that we can continue to make headway in planning ahead for much-needed flood defence schemes – especially those that can take several years to complete,” says Committee chairman Roy Ward.

Key schemes earmarked for 2003/4 include the restoration of an existing flood blank in Gowdall and flood walls and new embankments along the Rivers Derwent, Aire and Ouse.

Elsewhere, the Environment Agency’s Hampshire and Isle of Wight Flood Defence Committee yesterday approved a budget of £7 million to strengthen flood defences during the forthcoming year. The new budget includes a 7% levy increase to maintain the Agency’s flood investment programme.

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