ONE obvious question went unasked when the national media covered the need for £1bn a year to tackle flooding over the next century.
Just where will such a huge amount of money for flood and coastal defences come from?
Having poured over the documents, strategy and news coverage here at alternative sandbag company FloodSax, we can reveal that no-one seems to really know.
We asked the Environment Agency and a spokesman pointed us back to the online documents, adding that: “The funding is likely to come from a range of sources including central government and partnership funding from a range of organisations and local authorities.”
The formal report called the Draft National Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management Strategy for England states: “At a time where there are many competing demands on government money, much of that investment may need to come from new sources other than the taxpayer. The draft strategy recognises that to achieve greater resilience to flooding and coastal change, risk management authorities will need to use funding and finances from new sources. These are likely to include innovative and green financing sources.”
In other words, there is no ‘nailed on’ funding from anywhere yet more than 5 million people in England are at risk from flooding and coastal erosion. Only a third of people who live in areas at risk of flooding believe their property is at risk.
Huw Evans, Director General of the Association of British Insurers (ABI), warns ominously: “Climate change is dramatically increasing the risk of flooding in the UK and there are potentially drastic consequences for homes, businesses and communities if we fail to take action. At least one billion pounds a year to bolster physical defences is essential to support the Environment Agency’s plan to protect vital infrastructure as well as property.
“A lack of major floods in recent years is no cause for complacency. As well as building defences we need to increase awareness of flood risk and encourage home and business owner to put in place their own measures to protect their properties too.”
The story was sparked by the Environment Agency starting an 8-week consultation on its new strategy preparing for a potential 4°C rise in global temperature. The agency says urgent action is needed to tackle more frequent, intense flooding and sea level rise and at least £1bn a year is needed to do this.
Currently, two thirds of properties in England are served by infrastructure in areas at risk of flooding and for every person who suffers flooding, around 16 more are affected by loss of services such as power, transport and telecommunications.
An average of £1 billion will need to be invested each year in traditional flood and coastal defences and natural flood management. The National Audit Office has previously reported that for every £1 spent on protecting communities, around £9 in property damages and wider impacts is avoided.
For all the strategy behind this go to https://www.gov.uk/government/news/environment-agency-chair-calls-for-new-approach-to-flood-and-coastal-resilience
It’s clear people need to organise their own flood mitigation and defence. FloodSax alternative sandbags – dubbed sandless sandbags – are just one way to do this as they come vacuum-packed so are space-saving to store yet quick and easy to deploy.
For more anti-flood products check out the Blue Pages on the National Flood Forum website at http://bluepages.org.uk/