Sam Clayden 09 June 2016

Councils let down by flood protection funding

Local authorities are not receiving the necessary support to prepare for or mitigate the impacts of flooding, a new report has warned.

An inquiry by the Environmental Audit Committee concluded that the ‘reactive’ approach to funding flood defences exposed the Government’s ‘lack of long-term strategic planning’.

It found the condition of flood defences was in decline as a result of flood maintenance spending reductions.

Committee chair Mary Creagh said: ‘The committee is concerned the Government does not know how prepared local authorities are for mitigating future flood events or whether their flood plans – if they have them – are fit for purpose.’

The committee called for the Government to produce an annual national flood resilience review and action plan.

Responding to the report cllr Peter Box, environment spokesman for the Local Government Association, said: ‘Councils are at the sharp end of responding to and managing flooding and are going the extra mile to prepare and protect their communities. Local authorities are also doing everything they can to alleviate the risk to residents, which includes working hard to establish and maintain evidence-based local flood risk strategies.

‘However, we agree with the committee that councils need to be better supported by government. New measures that could make a positive difference include devolving new flood defence funding to local areas, further incentives for private sector investment in flood defences and mandatory flood-proof requirements for new homes and offices.’

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