Local authorities have flood defence spending cut

December 18th, 2014 Category: Local Authority & Housing

Local authorities have cut their flood defence spending for next year by a third, it has been revealed.

The main reason for this is due to the fact that funding for councils to deal with flooding has been slashed by the government.

Under the new directives, the £10 million flood defence spending for 2015-16 is £5 million less than it was in the previous year.

However, the government’s own report concluded in 2012 that the risk of flooding is increasing due to climate change.

These changes have been condemned by campaigners who said that it could potentially increase risk.

Mary Dhonau, a national flood campaigner, said that as a result of the spending cuts, Lead Local Flood Authorities (LLFAs) would be severely impacted.

LLFAs are responsible for emergency planning and recovery after floods. Their duties also include cleaning up after flooding has occurred.

Commenting on the developments, a spokeswoman for the Department of environment, food and rural affairs (Defra) said: “The funding to LLFAs was always going to be initially higher in order to allow them to gather information on local flood risk and understand how to manage the risk. The planned reduction does not affect emergency planning and recovery funding.

"We absolutely recognise the importance of tackling flooding which is why we are investing £3.2 billion in flood management and defences. This is more than ever before."

Separate findings by a National Audit Office (NAO) report published earlier in November concluded flood spending had actually fallen by ten per cent under the coalition government.

This put homes at risk of flooding and leaves flood defences with only the bare minimum of maintenance.

Paul Cobbing, chief executive of the National Flood Forum, said that the funding cuts are "dire."

He added: "LLFAs are at the heart of flood risk management. They are already under-resourced and this puts flood risk management backwards at the very point when a step change forwards is needed.”