McIntosh: Effective Dredging of Watercourses Must Be Priority (UK)
Government actions on flooding to spur economic growth are welcome but funding increases announced in this month’s Spending Round do not meet rising flood risk, warn MPs on the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee.
Launching the Committee’s Managing Flood Risk report Committee Chair, Anne McIntosh MP, said: “Record rainfall in the past two years has led to extensive flooding, cost the economy millions and caused disruption and distress to householders and communities across the UK.
“Additional capital funding for flood defences is welcome since every £1 spent on flood defences to protect communities spurs growth and delivers economic benefits worth £8.
“But spending on flood defences has not kept pace with rising risks from more frequent severe weather. The Chancellor must ensure that investment increases by £20 million year on year. We need that money over the next 25 years to protect homes and businesses better. Maintenance of these defences and effective dredging of watercourses must be a priority.”
The Committee welcomes proposals for a new ‘Flood Re’ insurance scheme to make sure everyone can get affordable insurance. The scheme would be funded by a small levy, probably about £10 a year, on all household insurance customers, and the Committee insists that safeguards are introduced to keep the cost down.
Ms McIntosh added: “Delay by the Government and the insurance industry in agreeing provision of affordable flood insurance has caused a lot of householders unnecessary uncertainty. The opaque cross-subsidy provided in the current Statement of Principles must be translated into a more transparent scheme with clear and robust governance arrangements.”
With spending on maintenance of defences and watercourses at its lowest for many years, MPs also criticise ‘short-sighted’ reductions in revenue funding that threaten to undermine the benefits of capital investment in flood defences.
Press Release, July 23, 2013