The House of Commons Committee of Public Accounts has published its report on UK Resilience to Flooding that examines the government’s efforts to reduce flood risk to the 5.7 million properties at risk in England. The report found that the government’s six-year £5.3 billion project intended to protect 336,000 properties will now only protect 200,00 (properties, 40% of that intended by 2027), with the final number potentially being lower than this. Coupled with this finding is that Environment Agency budget shortfalls for existing flood defences have resulted in 203,000 existing properties at an increased risk of flooding. Highlighting the need to ensure a balance is sought between existing flood defence maintenance and new defence projects, the report makes seven recommendations to the government. These include: (1) developing a net measurement for performance on flood resilience; (2) improving forecasting of properties covered in the capital programme under best and worst case scenarios; (3) setting out value for money on differing options to find greater balance between the capital projects and existing maintenance; (4) working with DLUHC and local authorities to reduce the flood risk to new development; (5) developing a more strategic approach to risk management in line with understanding local contexts and geographies to ensure rural communities are not disadvantaged or those with lower local authority resources; (6) establish a clear outline of implications for the closure of flood re in 2039; and (7) ensuring mitigation in development in areas of flood risk.

The National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) has published its response to the report with Commissioner Jim Hall, reiterating the essential need for a measurable approach to flood risk and resilience.

Two days before the report’s publication, The Environment Agency published an open newsletter on LinkedIn. The Director of Flood Risk Strategy and Natural Adaptation, Environment Agency, Julie Foley, called for Bolder leadership for surface water flooding.


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