Construction to start on 93 new flood defences


Environment Secretary Owen Paterson said flood victims who will not benefit from today's announcement should "keep applying"

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Construction is to start on 93 new flood defences in England this year to improve protection for more than 64,000 homes, the government has said.

The largest new scheme is an £80m coastal defence at Rossall, Lancashire, to improve protection of 7,000 homes.

The government says some schemes will also help growth, suggesting a £50m river defence in Leeds city centre would result in 18,000 new jobs.

Labour said that spending on defences against flooding had fallen.

Defra said that it expected 165,000 homes to be better protected by 2015 - some 20,000 more than its previous target.

Environment Secretary Owen Paterson said £2.3bn was being invested by government up to 2015, with an additional £148m in partnership funding contributions from local councils, businesses and private investors.

He said the 93 schemes would bring "huge relief to tens of thousands of homes and businesses that have lived with the fear of flood waters hitting their doors".

Some of the largest projects include:

  • More than £80m on coastal defences at Rossall, Lancashire, improving protection to more than 6,000 homes
  • A partnership-funded £50.5m scheme in Leeds that, Defra says, will protect 495 businesses and create 18,000 jobs in the city
  • Improved protection for 14,000 homes from £14.5m flood defences at Grimsby Docks in Lincolnshire
  • A £28.6m sea defence in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk
  • New sea defences at Anchorsholme in Lancashire, at a cost of £28.4m
  • More than £16m being spent on River Thames tidal defences
  • A £10m scheme on the east bank of the River Arun, protecting Littlehampton in West Sussex

But Labour's shadow environment secretary, Mary Creagh, said the government's investment in flood defences actually represented a cut.

"When we left government we were spending £354m a year on defending towns and cities and the coast from flooding," she said. "Even with today's announcement and the new money they announced before Christmas, this year they'll be spending £294m.

"So there's a significant cut, there's an ongoing cost to people that they're seeing reflected in their insurance, and while today's schemes are very welcome, partnership funding makes it quite difficult for the Environment Agency to plan."

Flooded road One in six homes in England is at risk of flooding, according to the Environment Agency

Malcolm Tarling, of the Association of British Insurers, welcomed the approval of new schemes but expressed concerns about levels of long-term flood defence spending and planning.

"We are in a position now going forward where the exceptional is going to become the everyday," he said.

"We are going to see more instances of flooding, I am afraid to say, and we are going to see more instances of extreme heavy rainfall - so flood defence management is crucial.

"But it's also crucial that we plan adequately so that we don't build new homes in areas of high flood risk."

But there was no money for some areas affected by flooding last year.

Heather Venn, a farmer on the Somerset Levels, said she felt "totally abandoned".

She said: "Farmers are getting angry and upset about it, and I know householders who have had their houses inundated are. We need somebody to be sitting up and taking account for us."

Environment minister Richard Benyon said the schemes announced on Thursday were those going ahead in the next financial year, and that more would follow in the future - possibly including areas hit by flooding before last Christmas.

"There are a number of schemes that will need to be taken forward in the areas that have had serious flooding, but no scheme goes from commissioning, from the idea of thinking them up, to commissioning in a year," he said.

"These are complicated engineering projects many of them, and we have to be absolutely conscious that we're dealing with taxpayers' money."

Map of top 10 most expensive flood defence schemes

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  • rate this

    Comment number 274.

    269 - LardiusMaximus
    Yes, the satire is appreciated. I wouldn't like a tree coming up my toilet anymore than watching effluent pouring into my home when someone flushes theirs up the road.

    It's everyone's problem when flooding causes so much misery and cost to homes and business. Do you suggest going to work in waders when your home, business or place of work is surrounded by water?

  • rate this

    Comment number 273.

    @ Thassos "Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) which are required for new developments. SuDS can reduce the likelyhood of flooding greatly in new developments"

    Developments with SuDs can cause flooding. This high density development, built above flood plain, and its overloaded 'flood relief system' causes flooding where I live.

  • rate this

    Comment number 272.

    Buy the houses built on flood plaind and demolish them. The homeowner gets to move somewhere safe and we dont need to keep spending money protecting develoments in stupid places...

  • rate this

    Comment number 271.

    During the design process we have to by law consult with the EA or planning application can be rejected outright.
    If the water cannot infiltrate the ground quick enough, then a soakaway can flood your home much the same way as a plugged up drain. Soakaways only work if the ground is porous enough.

  • rate this

    Comment number 270.


    Its not your money anymore.

  • rate this

    Comment number 269.

    If I buy a house next to a rotten tree and it falls over and demolishes my house it is, quite correctly, my fault for being a blithering idiot. You may well say that that's different. I could cut the tree down. True, I could, but should I expect you to pay the bill?

    So why is it everyone elses problem and cost if someone buys a house on a flood plain?

  • rate this

    Comment number 268.

    Carrying on from #262
    While the utilities companies adopt and maintain infrastructure which would be used in a 1:30 year storm, the developer has to maintain the 1:100 year storm infrastructure. Which means in new developments, the developer has liability if the storm that causes the flooding is excessive. And then I get paid a barrel-load to make sure the development doesn't flood. Happy days :)

  • rate this

    Comment number 267.

    They still build on this land any way sale the houses at inflated prices and screw over the people who buy them because they cant get any home insurance because of the flooding then having to sale the house at knock off prices if they want too move.

  • rate this

    Comment number 266.

    260 - Thassos
    There seems little point in EA consultations with consultant engineers working for developers.

    The EA appears to have little or no powers, isn't this just exercise of cat and mouse using practices that can't be enforced or refused. The public are stuck in the middle of this approach.

    Developers still build, then EA warns us by waving their arms around about the impending flood.

  • rate this

    Comment number 265.

    All new housing should be built with soakaways for surface water drainage instead of it going straight into sewers.
    Surface water drainage wher it exists, should go into storage ponds and then released into rivers at a controlled rate after the rain has stopped.
    Ditches and streams ned to be kept clear all year round.
    The above would be cheap and effective.

  • rate this

    Comment number 264.

    There are other solutions, stop building in flood regions, and if you're going to then use some common sense and put them on stilts the way other nations have learned to do! There are houses built this way all over the world, and we still haven't learned this very BASIC concept and started saving ourselves billions in damage and years of suffering for those duped into buying.

  • rate this

    Comment number 263.

    Re 260 - the response of EA to last year round here was to increase the area at 1 in 100 risk by about 3 times. Fixing drainage for new developments often means "beggar my neighbor".

  • rate this

    Comment number 262.

    Carrying on from #260.
    When designing for developments' drainage schemes, the drainage system should be robust to deal with the 1:100 year storm as well as an additional 30% of storage to take into account climate change. All the while, restricting flows out of the development to greenfield run-off rates (i.e. how water would have drained from the Site if there was no development on it)....

  • rate this

    Comment number 261.

    re 260 - So One Man and his spade should do it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 260.

    As an engineering consultant working for developers I can state that construction on land that may flood in a 1 in 100 year storm is strongly advised against by the Environmental Agency with any plans on development in those areas rejected at planning stage due to the Environment Agency's objections. Then, only if the EA agree to the sustainability of the drainage strategy does it get approval.

  • rate this

    Comment number 259.

    It is all very well planning big defenses, but what about the small,, simple things. The brook that drains all the water from my town has been cleaned out, through the town, where it shows, but the 400 meters downstream, until it meets it's river is still full of rubbish. My road flooded 5 times last year - never before in the 35 years I have been here.

  • rate this

    Comment number 258.

    Lots of homes were built a long time ago in areas around rivers and valleys.

    Over time as populations expanded, systems were constructed by engineers to deal with nature's events. We had the space to expand, but gradually standards have slipped to maintain what good engineers did and do now. It's a combination of factors - not just about a good survey on domestic property.

  • rate this

    Comment number 257.

    As with many of this country's problems - yet another one that comes down to overpopulation.
    If we had minimal immigration and less welfare dependent types breeding, we wouldn't need more and more housing.

    I do wonder if in 100 years there will be any fields left in Britain?

  • rate this

    Comment number 256.

    Too many houses being built causing extra run-off instead of the water being soaked-up by the soil. Why do we "need" these houses? Well the population increase due to uncontrolled immigration is a bit of a giveaway.

  • rate this

    Comment number 255.

    The Government should hire some Dutch planners. If anyone knows about keeping water away it should be someone from Holland!


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