Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
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£16 million for local community flood protection

Local communities across England will benefit from £16 million funding to help them tackle surface water flooding, Environment Secretary Hilary Benn announced today.

£9.7 million has been awarded to 77 local authorities for areas where the evidence shows that the risk and potential impact of surface water flooding could be highest.  Local authorities for all other areas will also be able to bid for a share of £5 million to help them deal with known local flooding problems.

Defra is also spending £1 million on making training, data and other tools available to help all local authorities manage flood risk.

Hilary Benn said:

“Local authorities have a crucial role to play in tackling flooding and it’s vital that they have the information, resources and skills they need.  That’s why we’ve provided this money and we want to make sure it gets to where it’s most needed and where it can make the biggest difference - especially as we know that climate change will cause increased severe rainfall in future and bring with it an increased risk of surface water flooding.”

Defra will publish details of how local authorities can bid for the £5million funding and the criteria on which bids will be assessed, in the next few weeks.  Innovative proposals for tackling surface water flooding especially in rural areas, will be particularly welcomed.

Notes to editors

  1. The top 77 local authority areas where the consequences of surface water flooding are expected to be highest have been identified from new studies which model the effects of very severe rainfall. Such storms can occur anywhere and are expected to become more frequent in the future with climate change.
  2. Where extreme rainfall occurs in densely populated areas the potential effect of surface water flooding will be higher due to large areas of impermeable surfaces, and this information has been used to identify the areas at highest risk across the country.  The list of named areas receiving a total of £9.7 million funding can be found at www.defra.gov.uk/environ/fcd/policy/surfacewaterdrainage.htm. A full list of estimated risk will be available on the Defra website shortly.
  3. The amount of funding awarded to each local authority is related to the estimated number of properties that could be affected by severe rainfall and the expected average cost of developing a surface water management plan for the area. A full explanation of how the funding has been awarded will be published shortly.
  4. If local authorities have strong evidence that suggests the methodology may have underestimated the risk in their area, Defra may reconsider individual allocations and have set aside contingency funding for this purpose.
  5. The £9.7m will be provided to the 77 individual local authorities in the form of area-based and capital grants between now and March 2011, except in London where boroughs have signalled the intention to work together through the Drain London Forum.
  6. Defra will publish details of how local authorities can bid for a share of the £5 million fund to deal with known surface water flooding problems on its website by the end of August.   Priority will be given to those areas which have not been allocated funds through the £9.7 million announced today.
  7. An independent review of the 2007 flooding, led by Sir Michael Pitt, looked at its causes and subsequent management to see what lessons needed to be learned about how to manage and respond to this type of event in the future.  Sir Michael's final report was published on 25 June 2008.  The report highlighted the risks of surface water flooding and put forward recommendations to reduce the chance of such an event occurring again.  Several recommendations were made relating to surface water issues which included giving local authorities new roles and responsibilities for local flood risk management and the development of surface water management plans.  In its response to the Pitt Review, published on 17 December 2008, the Government committed £15 million funding for early action to implement recommendations on better surface water management.  £300,000 was allocated immediately to six areas (Warrington, Thatcham, Leeds, Kingston upon Hull, Richmond upon Thames and Gloucestershire).
  8. The Environment Agency (EA) estimated that around two-thirds of the flooding (affecting 57,000 properties) in summer 2007 was due to surface water. Surface water flooding is also extremely difficult to predict as it is often a result of sudden localised rainfall events, and very small variations in the built environment can have significant effects on the way water flows. Climate change predictions indicate that intense rainfall events are likely to increase resulting in an increased risk of surface water flooding.

End

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