No funding for natural flood management

Following heavy rainfall and some flooding in areas of the South East, Friends of the Earth have revealed that there was no funding earmarked specifically for natural flood management.

The environmental group sent a freedom of information (FOI) request to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), and discovered that there was no funding earmarked specifically for natural flood management, despite ministers saying they would fund such measures.

In former Chancellor George Osborne’s March Budget, an extra £700 million for ‘innovative flood defence measures’ was announced. Natural flood management schemes aim to slow the movement of water downstream to prevent flooding.

Guy Shrubsole, climate campaigner for Friends of the Earth, said: “So far it’s been all talk and no action. The government has failed to spend a single extra penny on natural flood management.

“Ministers must replace warm words with hard cash and announce a pot of at least £20 million for natural flood defence in this year’s autumn statement. Anything less will be a betrayal of the communities that flooded so terribly last winter.”

Meanwhile, the Environment Agency has warned communities in the south west and parts of the north of England to be prepared for possible flooding and disruption due to heavy rain.

Alison Baptiste, National Flood Duty Manager at the Environment Agency, said: “Large parts of southern England have already experienced the impacts of Storm Angus this weekend. With more heavy rain on its way, people in the north and south west need to be prepared for the risk of flooding.

“Environment Agency teams have been out working through the night and we are now preparing for further flooding as rain continues over the next couple of days. People should remember not to drive through flood water and be aware travel may be disrupted. Environment Agency teams will clear blockages in rivers, continue to issue flood warnings and may operate flood gates and sea defences.”