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 Environment Agency outlines flood investment plans for the Thames region

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David Harvey

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PostSubject: Environment Agency outlines flood investment plans for the Thames region   Wed Feb 09, 2011 7:25 pm

Environment Agency outlines flood investment plans for the Thames region

39 new flood and coastal defence projects have been announced today. Of these, 21 projects will provide additional protection to households at risk of flooding and coastal erosion.

The remainder relate to repairs and safety enhancements to existing defences.

Over the next year £521m will be spent managing flood risk. In addition to new schemes, the funding will also be invested in ongoing work or completion of 108 projects already under construction, and a further 185 schemes will receive funding in 2011/12 for development work such as feasibility studies, for possible construction in future years.

The allocation for 2011/12 also covers maintaining existing defences, developing flood forecasting technologies and heightening public awareness of flood risk.

The government expects to spend at least £2.1bn on flooding and coastal erosion over the next four years and improve protection for at least 145,000 homes.

Environment Minister Richard Benyon said: “Protecting homes from the threat of flooding and coastal erosion is incredibly important for the government, and schemes which will contribute the most in terms of protection to households and economic benefit per pound spent have been prioritised.

“The Environment Agency and other risk management authorities have worked very closely to ensure that as many people as possible are protected from the threat of flooding using the resources available.”

Some of the key Thames flood defence projects planned to benefit from funding in the 2010/2011 financial year include:

• Upper Mole Flood Alleviation Scheme – Construction work is progressing on this £15m scheme that will protect more than 1,000 properties in Crawley and Horley. Planning permission is being sought for the next stages of the project.

• Lewisham and Catford Flood Alleviation Scheme – Work is progressing on a feasibility study for a £8m scheme that will protect 430 properties in Lewisham and Catford.

• Haydon Wick Flood Alleviation Scheme – Construction is due to begin this year on the £3m scheme that will protect over 118 properties in Haydon Wick, Swindon, Wiltshire, subject to planning permission.

• Thames Barrier and Tidal Defences – Maintenance and renewals to keep the Thames Barrier and other tidal defences operational, including replacement winch motors and steel ropes on the flood gate and entrance of King George V Dock.

Thames Region Flood Risk Manager Peter Quarmby said: “We will invest more than £28m on renewing and building flood defences across the Thames region over the next financial year (up to March 2012).

“More than 1.5 million people are at risk of flooding from the Thames and its tributaries and it is essential that we continue to defend communities, businesses and the economy from the risk of flooding. We are developing some major and far reaching plans to deal with flood risk in the future, such as the Lower Thames Strategy and the Thames Estuary 2100 project.

“While continued investment is crucial, flooding cannot always be prevented, and it is vital that communities also take responsibility for being prepared – for example by signing up to the Environment Agency’s free flood warning service and by preparing themselves in the event of a flood.”

RFDC Chairman Amanda Nobbs said: “We will now look at the national funding that has been allocated to reducing the risk to communities in Thames from river flooding and finalise the allocations for each project. It is vital that we continue to invest our funding to protect as many properties as we can against the risk of flooding.”

The allocations for each scheme will be agreed by the Regional Flood Defence Committee at its next meeting in the spring.

This funding is in addition to the agreed £10m local levy funding for the Thames region, which was announced in December. This is the same level of funding local schemes that has been granted for the past two years.

Government funding for schemes starting in 2012/13 and beyond will be subject to the outcomes of the current consultation on funding reforms.

Next month, Defra, the Welsh Assembly Government, Cabinet Office and Environment Agency will conduct the country’s biggest peacetime exercise – Exercise Watermark – to test the country’s arrangements to respond to severe, wide-area flooding.

Notes

1. See the full list of schemes going ahead in 2011/12 on the Environment Agency website:
http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/research/planning/118129.aspx

2. Defra consultation: Future funding of flood and coastal erosion risk management in England
This consultation invites views on potential reforms to the way in which central government funding is allocated to projects in England in order to manage the risk of flooding and coastal erosion. http://www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/consult/flood-coastal-erosion/index.htm

3. Thames Region was allocated 71m towards flood risk management including building, renewing and maintaining flood defences.

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