News | Published February 17 2020

Over one per cent of infrastructure funding to be spent on flood defences

Over one per cent of governmental infrastructure funding in England will go towards flood defences.

Almost £5 billion will be spent on flood defences in the first half of this decade, one third of which will be dedicated towards London and the South East.

The division of spending has been criticised by MPs in the north of England, asking that the allocation be reconsidered.

The government defended their decision, stating that the North received more investment than the South in terms of money per home at risk.

According to the government, the funds marked a “record” investment in flood defences and would benefit 30,000 homes.

Storm Ciara resulted in 500 homes being flooded in the North of England last weekend, and storm Dennis has brought similar disruption this weekend.

The Environment Agency has predicted that the River Ouse could rise to a height of 5.4 metres today, a level it has not reached since the millennium.

Flood defences will receive 1.5 per cent of the £317 billion set aside for infrastructure projects in England, including roads and railways.

Tim Farron, spokesperson for the Liberal Democrats said: “Cumbria has had three 'one in 200-year' storm events in the last 10 years.

"We know the climate is changing, and we also know that the climate is changing with the most impact here in the North West of England.

"So, it is odd the government has chosen to spend so much money on London and the South East, and so little on the North.”

Prior to the cabinet reshuffle on Thursday, then environment secretary defended current policy, stating: "We are investing more than ever before in a £2.6 billion flood defence programme up to 2021.

"In the Autumn I announced an extra £60 million to boost flood schemes in the North.”

According to Defra, investment per home between 2015 and 2021 amounted to £700 per home at risk of flooding in the North, while houses in the South received under half of this.

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Authored by

Alice Jaspars
Culture Editor
February 17 2020

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