Britain’s flood defences ‘chaotic’

Britain’s defences against surface water floods are ‘chaotic’ and development funding is ‘inadequate’, according to the EFRA (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) committee’s report.

Though government spending has increased by £800 million since the 2007 summer floods, the committee’s report says: ‘This settlement looks far less impressive under close analysis and is not fully adequate to cope with the risks the country faces.’

The report suggests that the Environment Agency should have an over-arching role to provide guidance, and proposes banning non-porous paving materials in gardens. It also says all relevant organisations should be legally required to cooperate with each other.

Paul Bettison, chairman of the LGA’s (Local Government Association) environment board, said: ‘The current system is fundamentally flawed. We simply cannot continue to have a situation where it is not clear who is responsible for dealing with vitally important functions such as drainage.’

The floods in June and July were the worst in 60 years, killing 13 people and causing £3 billion damage. Many badly affected areas had been considered at low risk of flooding. Michael Jack, EFRA chairman, said: ‘The public will not forgive the Government if it is not seen to be responding to the lessons learnt from the floods of last summer.’

A new study from Durham University cautioned that we are entering a ‘flood-rich’ period with more flooding probable in coming years.

A select committee has concluded that Britain’s flood defences are ‘chaotic’ and funding ‘inadequate’.

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