The Environmental Audit Committee published a report on 9 June which found that the Government is failing to protect communities at risk of flooding.
Criticism was levelled at the “reactive approach” to funding for flood defence, which exposes a lack of long-term strategic planning on the part of the Government. Funding fluctuates year-on-year, said the committee. It was initially cut during the last Parliament and only increased after the 2013/2014 floods.
Mary Creagh MP, Chair of the Environmental Audit Committee, said: “We know that flooding is projected to get worse and occur more frequently because of climate change, so it just isn’t good enough for Government to react to flooding events as they occur. Communities at risk deserve certainty from Government.”
A report from the Commons Select Committee is available here.
Jon Robinson, water director with AECOM, commented: “Mitigating the impact of climate change necessitates new ways of thinking, underpinned by a sustained stream of funding. The government’s six-year capital investment programme for flood defences, delivered by the Environment Agency and its partners, should help address the stop-start approach to funding. It allows schemes to be packaged, which enables more efficient delivery by both the client and suppliers. There is a clear delivery route with money directed with due consideration of benefits.
“But it is important the programme is not back-end loaded with the bulk of construction occurring in years five and six. Design, maintenance and construction must be a continuous process in order to achieve the required outcomes.
“Changes in our climate are only likely to increase pressure on flood defences over the coming decades. Ultimately, funding may therefore need to be increased in order to meet the escalating demand.”