Region in line for more flood money

EAST Anglia is set to receive more money for flood defences next year - but stretches of low-lying coast will continue to be abandoned to the sea.However, more centres of population on the coast and beside tidal estuaries and rivers will have their defences strengthened.

By David Green

EAST Anglia is set to receive more money for flood defences next year - but stretches of low-lying coast will continue to be abandoned to the sea.

However, more centres of population on the coast and beside tidal estuaries and rivers will have their defences strengthened.

The Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has announced record spending for flood and coastal defences of £570 million for 2005/6.


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Out of this total, the amount allocated to the traditional Defra programme for strengthening existing defences is £169 million - more than double its 1997 level of £32 million.

This is shared out across all flood and coastal defence operating authorities, according to Defra's priority scoring system.

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But the scoring system will remain unchanged, which will disappoint the owners of isolated properties and coastal farmland.

The Environment Agency will receive £443 million, with local authorities and internal drainage boards sharing £54 million between them.

Rita Penman, agency spokeswoman, said it was not yet known how much money would be available for spending in the Anglian region, which stretches from the Humber to south Essex.

“Once we know how much we are getting the allocation of money will be decided by local flood defence committees,” she added.

“This will be discussed as of next month.”

Defra said that overall Government funding for 2005-06 was £90 million more than in 2004-05.

This high level of spending will be kept up during the three years of the Spending Review 2004 period to 2007-08.

The grant will pay for almost all the Environment Agency's flood management activities, including improvement projects, maintenance and operations, flood forecasting and warning.

It will also fund other initiatives such as flood risk mapping, catchment flood management plans and the National Flood and Coastal Defence Database.

The money will support local authority and internal drainage board improvement projects as well.

Environment Minister Elliot Morley, said: “These large sums demonstrate clearly the Government's commitment to invest to manage flood and coastal erosion risk and the extra threat from rising sea levels.

“Operating authorities will invest this money to achieve the Government's objectives.

“Defra's target is to reduce risk to people and assets - including some 80,000 households nationally between April 2003 and March 2006.

“Achieving this will be challenging but operating authorities are on track to do so.”

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