Government failing to protect communities at risk of flooding, EAC says

A report conducted by the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) has concluded that the government has not done enough to protect communities at risk of flooding.

The report followed the storms that hit the UK between December 2015 and January 2016, which caused flooding in the north of England and Wales and also affected parts of Scotland and Northern Ireland. The losses which which occurred after storms Desmond, Eva and Frank resulted in insurance claims of £1.3 billion.

The committee outlined that funding for flooding fluctuated year-on-year, with funding being cut during the last Parliament and not increased again until the Winter floods of 2013-14.

Furthermore, the EAC said it was ‘sceptical’ the government would reach its target of protecting 300,000 properties. The report claimed that the government’s commitment to spend £2.3 billion on constructing new and maintaining current flood defences, was based on an optimistic forecast that assumed the greatest efficiency in spending decisions.

Peter Box, Local Government Association spokesman, agreed that councils needed greater support. He said: "New measures that could make a positive difference include devolving new flood defence funding to local areas, further incentives for private sector investment in flood defences and mandatory flood-proof requirements for new homes and offices."

Paul Cobbing, chief executive of the National Flood Forum, welcomed the report, and added: "As it stands, long-term flood risk management is inadequate to deal with the scale of the problem, both in approach and in the level of funding.”