Failing Flood Defences To Receive £40m Funding - THE NEW DAWN ONLINE


Sunday, January 03, 2016

Failing Flood Defences To Receive £40m Funding

Winter weather Dec 28th 2015
More than £40m will be spent on strengthening flood defences which were overwhelmed by Storm Eva over Christmas, the Prime Minister has announced.

A significant portion of the funding package has been earmarked for York, where hundreds of homes were flooded after the Foss Barrier struggled to cope with record levels of rainfall.

Repairs are also expected to take place on defences along the Derwent, Aire, Calder and Ouse in the county - as well as the River Wharfe, which became so swollen that an ancient bridge in Tadcaster collapsed and split the town in two.

The investment is in addition to the £50m pot set aside for local authorities co-ordinating the clean-up effort, and the cash promised to those affected by Storm Desmond in the North West.

David Cameron said: "I have seen at first-hand the devastation caused by flooding. And that's why this work to repair and improve flood defences is so vital.

"We are already spending £280m over the next six years to protect thousands of houses from flooding in Yorkshire as part of our £2.3bn investment to protect 300,000 houses across the country."

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron, whose constituency in Cumbria was among those badly hit by flooding, has described the latest package as a "short-term fix", and questioned whether the "small down-payment" of £40m was actually new funding.

Meanwhile, The Observer has published details of a document presented to ministers in November - days before Cumbria was deluged by floodwater - which concluded further cuts in the Environment Agency's budget could put a further 240,000 properties at "significant risk" of flood damage by 2035.

The Association of Drainage Authorities report said "failure of assets and networks is more likely as extreme weather events become more frequent and unpredictable".

It also warned that budget cuts had left local authorities with little choice but to maintain flood defence systems and structures "to a minimum level", reducing their effectiveness.

However, DEFRA has claimed it is "exceeding the Government's manifesto commitment" on flood defences - with a spokeswoman insisting the £2.3bn was on top of existing capital investment.

An amber "be prepared" warning of heavy rain is currently being enforced by the Met Office for parts of Scotland, with forecasters predicting more than 200mm of rain will fall on saturated ground by Monday.

Yellow warnings are also in place for parts of Wales, Northern Ireland, northeast England and southwest England - with another band of downpours expected on Sunday.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency has issued 23 flood warnings and three flood alerts, while in England and Wales, there are currently 16 flood warnings and 95 flood alerts.

Sky News

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