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Leading campaigners call for flood defence spending ahead of Budget 2015

Ahead of the Budget 2015 this Wednesday, the Flood Free Homes campaign is urging the Chancellor and future Governments to think further ahead than quick wins, and to increase spending on flood defences and maintenance. Two million homes in England and Wales are still at flood risk from the rivers and sea. Yet in both cash and real terms flood defence spending has declined since 2010, with a £500m shortfall between current spending on flood defences and what is needed.*

The Flood Free Homes campaign was launched by the Association of British Insurers, supported by Friends of the Earth, Know Your Flood Risk, National Flood Forum, the Property Care Association’s Flood Protection Group and the BRE Centre for Resilience. The aim of the campaign is to raise the issue of long term flood defence investment and land and water management. The Budget needs to set the tone for future Spending Reviews to ensure that protection against future flooding is a national priority.

The campaign has been supported by more than 80 MPs and prospective parliamentary candidates who recognise the need to address the UK’s growing flood risk through new and maintained flood defences, sensible planning and long term solutions.

Flood Free Homes is campaigning for:

  • INVEST. By 2025 £1 billion per year to be spent managing flood risk in order to keep pace with climate change. 
  • ADAPT. A zero tolerance of inappropriate new developments in areas at risk of flooding. 
  • PLAN. Cross party consensus on ambitious long term solutions that manage all types of flood risk.

Flooding has long been recognised as the greatest natural threat the UK faces. Environment Agency data shows around 2 million homes in England and Wales at flood risk now from the rivers and sea, with over 500,000 of these at ‘moderate’ risk or greater, and around 2.4 million additional homes at risk of surface water flooding, this is a serious problem facing the country today.

Without action to reduce the risk across the UK, the effect on our homes, businesses, communities, infrastructure and way of life is potentially devastating.

Louise Hanson, Director of Advocacy at the ABI, said:

"The UK’s increasing flood risk must be a national priority if we are to protect our communities who live in constant fear of flooding. It is vital that we have political consensus on how we manage our land and water in order to have the ambitious long-term solutions we need to effectively manage flood risk. We need a co-ordinated approach to flood defence investment, much more than just ad hoc one-off payments.”

Mary Dhonau, Chair of the Flood Protection Group Property Care Association and Chief Executive of the Know Your Flood Risk Campaign, said:

"Having been flooded myself, I know only too well how devastating it can be! It is essential that spending on flood risk and climate change is prioritised by the next Government. Our infrastructure is woefully inadequate and needs urgent investment to make it fit for purpose for both now and in the future!”

Guy Shrubsole, Friends of the Earth climate campaigner, said:

"The Government’s flood protection plans remain full of holes – investment lags far behind what is needed to keep pace with climate change and there’s still no sign of fresh money for flood defence maintenance. With global warming making our weather more extreme, the Chancellor must use his final budget of this Parliament to get tough on flooding and tough on the causes of flooding.”

Paul Cobbing, Chief Executive of the National Flood Forum, said:

"Flooding affects the very heart of peoples’ lives and causes untold trauma and suffering to individuals and communities.  With flood risk and the impacts of flooding expected to increase, its important now more than ever to invest in managing our flood risk for the future.  With an 8:1 economic benefit ratio new schemes also make sense, whilst maintenance makes sure that we reap the benefits of our investment.”

Stephen Garvin, Director BRE Centre for Resilience, said:

"We are supporting campaign for Flood Free Homes.  It is important that new developments are constructed responsibly and in appropriate locations. The campaign will encourage investment in flood defences, and promote greater uptake of measures at community and property level to improve resilience and reduce the cost of repairing damage after flood events. Therefore, we encourage government and industry to invest in appropriate research to encourage greater action in this area.”

How to get involved and find out more information:

Last updated 01/07/2016