MPs Warn Flooding Could Return This Winter if Funding Cuts Continue
MPs have warned Environment Secretary Owen Paterson that unless current cuts are reversed the country could face another winter of flooding. A report produced by the Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Efra) select committee stated that money for the maintenance of rivers and flood defences was at a bare minimum after the coalition imposed a 25% cut on spending in 2010. The committee did however commend the relief effort for last winter’s record breaking floods that saw 7,000 properties affected.
Chair Anne McIntosh said; “Ministers must take action now to avoid a repeat of the devastation caused by the winter floods. Regular work to dredge and keep rivers clear can be an essential flood prevention measure, yet this is exactly what gets squeezed out when budgets are tight. The Government needs to recognise the importance of regular maintenance work and put it on an equal footing with building new defences.”
Figures produced by the Environment Agency suggest that for every £1 invested in flood defences £8 is saved in the cost of potential future damage. So far this year the government has announced extra funding of £270 million in an attempt to protect the five million people in Britain that live in areas with a significant risk of flooding.