Defra flood plan 'inadequate', says Countryside Alliance

by Stephen Hurrell. Published Thu 20 Aug 2009 15:33, Last updated: 2009-08-20
£16 million is not enough to prevent flooding, according to the Countryside Alliance

Plans by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) to invest £16 million in flood defences have been branded ‘inadequate’ by the Countryside Alliance.

As reported on Search Gate earlier this week, Defra has pledged £16 million to 77 local authorities to go towards flood defences. Defra hopes the money can be used to stop floods like the ones that devastated Tewkesbury in 2007.

But campaign group the Countryside Alliance has hit out at the announcement, stating £125,000 per authority is nowhere near enough to tackle surface water flooding in the UK.

Sarah Lee, Head of Policy, said: "A Local Government Association survey found that 60 percent of councils did not have the necessary funds to fulfil their flood risk responsibilities. So considering the financial and human cost of flood damage, this money is a drop in the ocean of what local authorities need to adequately protect homes and businesses from flooding.

"We believe the Defra flood money is way short of what is needed to protect hundreds of thousands of people and livelihoods. It is essential for the Government to make the right investment for adequate flood protection measures to avoid the crippling costs of floods due to increase because of climate change."

Countrywide flooding in 2007 caused £3 billion worth of damage to 57,000 homes and 7,100 businesses. The Government’s Foresight Report estimates that currently 80,000 properties are at very high risk from surface water flooding, causing an average of £270 million of damage each year.

In a report based on the floods in July 2007, Sir Michael Pitt urged the Government to act quickly to put a system in place to ensure homes and power supply are not affected by surface water flooding in future.

The Association of British Insurers added: "We believe that the only way to effectively manage the UK's rising flood risk is to have in place a long-term flood management strategy.

“This needs to be based around a thorough reassessment of the flood risk from rivers, surface water and the sea, backed by adequate funding to manage the risk, and a more co-ordinated approach to managing the threat and dealing with flooding when it does occur.

“The draft Flood and Water Management Bill needs to provide the framework for this approach and we urge politicians of all parties to work together to make this happen.”

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