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Will Government investment on Somerset's
flood defences actually happen?

Flood spending  


The government’s announcement of £2.3bn investment in flood defences has to be welcomed by everyone in Somerset but the National Audit Office have reported that flood defence spending has been cut - in real terms - by 10% since 2010.

The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) - an independent body that advises the UK government - also welcome the government’s announcement but says that maintenance of existing defences are being neglected.

Only a quarter of Britain’s flood defences are being maintained fully. The degradation to the other three-quarters of defences will have to be replaced at greater expense in the future.

According to the CCC, the Environment Agency now had 800 fewer flood risk management staff than it did in 2010-11.

The problem with the government’s £2.3bn announcement is that it includes an assumed £600 million from the ‘partnership funding programme’ and therefore there have to be questions asked about whether that amount of money will ever materialise.

The ‘partnership funding programme’ includes money from local councils and private businesses. It was supposed to raise £140 million in the life of this parliament but has failed miserably to achieve anything like that.

Climate change will ensure that sea levels continue to rise – flood protection is an issue for the foreseeable future and not for just before an election.


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