New proposals give local communities a greater say in flood management

Defra and the Environment Agency have published a consultation which gives local communities a greater say in what is done to protect them from the risks of flooding and coastal erosion.

The consultation on a new national flood and coastal erosion risk management strategy for England aims to allow greater local involvement in planning and prioritising flood defences.

At the same time proposals to change the system for allocating money for flood defences are also being published, which would mean  more flood defence schemes benefit from some level of government funding.

Those who will directly benefit from the schemes, such as local businesses and community groups, will have the opportunity for further voluntary investment.

Payments would be made based on the individual benefits of the schemes, such as for each household protected or value of economic benefits. This would mean that schemes in rural areas would be judged on a level playing field with schemes in more densely populated areas.

Any private contributions to the cost of flood defences will be entirely voluntary and communities at most risk of flooding will still be prioritised for government funding.

Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman said: "With more extreme weather patterns predicted in the future, this new strategy will give communities and businesses more power to influence how they are protected, because local involvement means plans and funding can be specifically prioritised and tailored."

"By encouraging additional investment from a wider range of local organisations and businesses, local ambitions for flood protection will no longer be held back by national budgets."

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