Government sets up national flood resilience review
Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss has announced that the Government is to set up a National Flood Resilience Review to examine how to better protect the country from future flooding and increasingly extreme weather events.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural affairs (Defra) is to take a fresh look at how it calculates flood risk, in light of recent events, to be delivered by a new cross Government team. This will see the Government updating ‘worst case scenario’ planning, considering the future impacts of climate change and carrying out a risk assessment of critical infrastructure, like electricity substations.
The review, to be published next summer, will be led by Oliver Letwin, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, and include the Government’s Chief Scientist, Defra, DECC, DCLG, HMT and the Chief Executive of the Environment Agency.
The Environment Secretary also announced the formation of a new Cumbrian Floods Partnership group to be chaired by Floods Minister Rory Stewart. Rory Stewart will also be taking on a special Floods Envoy role across Cumbria and Lancashire coordinating the flood recovery operation across local agencies over the coming months.
The new group, made up of local authorities, the Environment Agency and community flood defence groups, will carry out work to identify additional flood protection measures for Cumbrian communities affected by extreme weather events.
Key issues the Partnership will consider include what improvements to flood defences in the region may be needed, look at upstream options for slowing key rivers to reduce the intensity of water flows at peak times and build stronger links between local residents, community groups and flood defence planning.
The group will publish a Cumbria Action Plan next summer.
Elizabeth Truss said: “After seeing first-hand the impact of the flooding in the north of England it is clear that the growing threat from more extreme weather events means we must reassure ourselves, and those communities at risk, that our defences, our modelling and our future plans are robust.”
“We are already spending £2.3BN over the next six years to better protect 300,000 homes from flooding, but we need to be sure we have the very best possible plans in place for flood prevention and protection across the whole country.”
“We will take prompt action where we identify any gaps in our approach and where our defences and modelling need strengthening.”
Sir James Bevan, Chief Executive of the Environment Agency, added: “Whenever an exceptional event happens it’s important to review what happened and how to prepare for the future. With a £60M fund to help with recovery in Cumbria, in addition to the £2.3BN Government has committed to protect homes from floods across the country, we have the resources necessary to manage flood risk in England.”
“The National Flood Resilience Review and the Cumbria Floods Partnership give Government, the Environment Agency and community groups the forums to review and ensure we are directing our resources to protect people most effectively.”
To aid recovery efforts in the affected regions, the Chancellor has already announced an additional £51M to support households and businesses affected by last weekend’s devastating floods in Cumbria and Lancashire. This takes the total support pledged by the Government to over £60M.
The investment of £2.3BN over the next six years will build 1,400 new flood defence schemes intended to better protect 300,000 more homes.
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