Government announces flood risk reduction target

2nd December 2014


Related Topics

Related tags

  • Adaptation

Author

Alex Cooper

Long-term investment and better management processes will reduce flood risk by 5% by 2021, the government said today.

The new target was included in an announcement by the environment department (Defra) outlining how it planned to spend £2.3 billion on flood risk management over the next six years.

The money had been previously announced, but details on how it would be spent and managed have now been set out in a new strategy, together with a list of projects that will be funded.

The six-year time-frame of the strategy and investment is a marked change to how flood risk was previously managed, when the Environment Agency allocated funding annually. The longer time-frame will result in greater efficiency, for example, by allowing suppliers to package projects together and achieve economies of scale, Defra said.

Greater efficiencies will reduce costs by at least 10%, the department claimed. These savings will be reinvested, allowing more projects to be bought forward, it said. The Environment Agency is to consult regional flood and coastal committees on which scheme will benefit from this investment.

The agency is to make several changes to how it manages its flood risk management work, according to Defra. For example, the agency will share its pipeline of work with industry, group schemes into more efficient programmes of delivery, and provide targeted support for its local area teams and local authorities to help them deliver projects.

Defra estimates that funding from the private sector and local communities will increase to over £600 million over the lifetime of the programme. Contributions could come from a number of sources, including developers in planning contributions, and retailers or utilities wishing to protect assets.

Daniel Johns, head of adaptation at the Committee on Climate Change called the spending plan “truly impressive”. He praised the strategy for including surface water flooding, which he said had previously been ignored.

“The six-year plan does something no government has done before in pledging to reduce the net level of flooding,” he said. “It’s not just a pie-in-the-sky target, they have listed 1,400 projects that will be funded.”

However, he cautioned that most of the households who will see flood risk reduce were those that were at low risk. There is likely to be an increase in households at medium or high-risk of flooding due to the impact of climate change and continuing development on flood plains, he said.

The Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM) criticised Defra’s approach, which it said focussed on capital investment to the detriment of annual maintenance to reduce local flood risk, such as weed and vegetation trimming, and silt removal from rivers.

Spending on this type of work has reduced by 6% in the past five years in real terms, according to a report by the National Audit Office. Jed Ramsay, rivers and coastal treasurer at CIWEM, said: “The continuation of this policy will result in ongoing degradation, which will then cost a great deal more to restore.

“Timely appropriate spending is not only better in maintaining appropriate levels of flood risk but also is environmentally better and cheaper in the long term,” he said.

Subscribe

Subscribe to IEMA's newsletters to receive timely articles, expert opinions, event announcements, and much more, directly in your inbox.


Transform articles

SBTi clarifies that ‘no change has been made’ to its stance on offsetting

The Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) has issued a statement clarifying that no changes have been made to its stance on offsetting scope 3 emissions following a backlash.

16th April 2024

Read more

While there is no silver bullet for tackling climate change and social injustice, there is one controversial solution: the abolition of the super-rich. Chris Seekings explains more

4th April 2024

Read more

One of the world’s most influential management thinkers, Andrew Winston sees many reasons for hope as pessimism looms large in sustainability. Huw Morris reports

4th April 2024

Read more

Alex Veitch from the British Chambers of Commerce and IEMA’s Ben Goodwin discuss with Chris Seekings how to unlock the potential of UK businesses

4th April 2024

Read more

Regulatory gaps between the EU and UK are beginning to appear, warns Neil Howe in this edition’s environmental legislation round-up

4th April 2024

Read more

Five of the latest books on the environment and sustainability

3rd April 2024

Read more

Ben Goodwin reflects on policy, practice and advocacy over the past year

2nd April 2024

Read more

In 2020, IEMA and the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA) jointly wrote and published A User Guide to Climate-Related Financial Disclosures. This has now been updated to include three key developments in the field.

2nd April 2024

Read more

Media enquires

Looking for an expert to speak at an event or comment on an item in the news?

Find an expert

IEMA Cookie Notice

Clicking the ‘Accept all’ button means you are accepting analytics and third-party cookies. Our website uses necessary cookies which are required in order to make our website work. In addition to these, we use analytics and third-party cookies to optimise site functionality and give you the best possible experience. To control which cookies are set, click ‘Settings’. To learn more about cookies, how we use them on our website and how to change your cookie settings please view our cookie policy.

Manage cookie settings

Our use of cookies

You can learn more detailed information in our cookie policy.

Some cookies are essential, but non-essential cookies help us to improve the experience on our site by providing insights into how the site is being used. To maintain privacy management, this relies on cookie identifiers. Resetting or deleting your browser cookies will reset these preferences.

Essential cookies

These are cookies that are required for the operation of our website. They include, for example, cookies that enable you to log into secure areas of our website.

Analytics cookies

These cookies allow us to recognise and count the number of visitors to our website and to see how visitors move around our website when they are using it. This helps us to improve the way our website works.

Advertising cookies

These cookies allow us to tailor advertising to you based on your interests. If you do not accept these cookies, you will still see adverts, but these will be more generic.

Save and close