Spotlight on flood defence investment programme

A £2.6 billion, six-year programme of work dedicated to improving flood and coastal defences has exceeded its original targets by 14,000 – with over 314,000 homes now better protected from flooding since 2015, the Environment Agency said.

More than 850 new flood and coastal erosion defence projects have been completed during this period.

Alongside delivering on its headline target, Defra’s capital investment programme from 2015-2021 has also brought wider benefits to both the environment through the creation and enhancement of natural habitats, and also local communities, through better protecting nationally important infrastructure and wider contributions to economic recovery.

Environment Secretary, George Eustice, said: “Our programme of work has protected over 314,000 properties, defending people, communities, and businesses from flooding and coastal erosion. We know that there is still more to do, so we are doubling our investment with a record £5.2 billion over the next six years.”

“The Environment Agency’s six year flood defence building programme has better protected over 314,000 homes and businesses from the cost, pain and disruption of flooding. There are very few national infrastructure programmes that come in on time, on budget, and on target: I am very proud that the EA has achieved this,” added Emma Howard Boyd, Chair of the Environment Agency.

“The climate emergency is bringing greater risks. Our response must be to protect our communities as best we can, make them more resilient, using natural flood management as well as hard defences, and to tackle both the causes and consequences of climate change.

“The EA is doing all that in our new £5.2bn flood defence investment programme. We will stay focused on delivering it for the people and places we serve.”

The assessment of this 2015-2021 programme comes as the government is one year into a £5.2 billion investment in around 2,000 new flood and coastal defences between 2021 and 2027.

These upcoming schemes will help to reduce the national flood risk by up to 11 per cent and help to avoid £32 billion of wider economic damages along with a range of other benefits for local communities and the environment.

Photo: Environment Agency