Wales invests £150m in new flood and coastal defences

Finance and Government Business Minister Jane Hutt will today (9 December) announce £150m of funding for flood and coastal risk management across Wales.

The investment will be available from 2018 via a new funding tool which will employ revenue budgets and build on the Local Government Borrowing Intiative, established in 2012 to allow Welsh local authorities to address pressures on road maintenance budgets.

Hutt said: “Ensuring that we have effective flood and coastal defences is a priority we share with local authorities. Few can doubt that our flood defences will continue to be tested by adverse weather events in the future. We are responding to that challenge, by thinking ahead, being strategic and planning ahead.

“That is why I am today announcing this new significant round of investment in flood and coastal defences, which follows the £245m in capital and revenue funding we have already committed over the life of this Government.

“Through innovative funding schemes, we are able to complement our existing capital funding and ensure that Wales remains a safe, viable and attractive place to live and work for current and future generations. In 2014 alone, I have announced around £1.9bn of new, innovative financial investment in our social and economic infrastructure.”

Plan ahead

More than £245m has already been invested in flood risk management under the current Welsh Government, supported by an additional £50m from Europe.

Finance and Natural Resources Minister Carl Sargeant said: “Minimising the effects of flooding and keeping our communities safe are key priorities for this Government.

“This has already been demonstrated by the £245m investment we have made during this term of Government which has been complemented by £7.2m to repair and improve coastal defences following last year’s storms.

“It’s vital to keep looking to the future, however, and today’s announcement will be welcome news for coastal communities across Wales. Our Wellbeing of Future Generations Bill makes it clear that we must plan ahead and work together to ensure the best possible outcomes for our communities.

“This announcement reinforces that commitment and is a clear message that the Welsh Government will continue to tackle flooding, and the risks associated with it, for years to come.”

Earlier this month, the Government unveiled details of its latest pre-election spending commitment in the form of £2.3bn of funding for more than 1,400 new flood defence projects across the UK.

However, opposition parties and green groups have been quick to voice their concerns, saying that the investment was still not enough to protect homes and businesses from the impacts of climate change.

Lois Vallely

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