The government appears to be strengthening its disaster recovery plan where flooding in the UK is concerned following the devastation brought in parts of the country last winter.
It has now published a National Flood Resilience Review that includes £12.5 million for new temporary flood defences such as high volume pumps and barriers, positioned in seven strategic locations around the country. Come the winter, the Environment Agency (EA) will have four times more barriers than it did last year.
What’s more, Met Office forecasts of extreme rainfall will, for the first time ever, be linked to the EA’s modelling so as to provide new assessments of the risk of flooding.
This new wave of funding builds on the £2.5 billion that will be invested between 2015 and 2021 to help strengthen the UK’s flood and coastal defences. What’s more, over this Parliament £1 billion will be spent on maintaining the country’s flood defences. After the storms seen last winter, the government has already paid out £1 million to over 180 farmers affected by the flooding.
And the government now intends to start four new projects to develop and accelerate ways of managing our environment, including one in Cumbria that will focus on natural flood management, as well as up-to-date data and modelling tools.
Environment Secretary Angela Leadsom said: “Last winter we saw just how devastating flooding can be. This review sets out clear actions so we are better prepared to respond quickly in the event of future flooding and can strengthen the nation’s flood defences.”
And Sir James Bevan, Chief Executive of the EA, made further comments, adding that the agency worked closely with the government on the review and the additional funding will allow the organisation to do even more for local communities so that homes and businesses are better protected and flood response is even more rapid and flexible when extreme weather does hit.
Late in December last year, KPMG’s UK Head of General Insurance Management Justin Balcombe told the Guardian that the winter floods would cost the UK over £5 billion, with thousands of businesses and families facing financial ruin as a result, because they do not have adequate insurance in place to cover them. He said, in fact, that approximately £1 billion of this would fall to those families and businesses without adequate cover because there is a huge level of under-insurance.
It seems as though extreme weather is something that we here in the UK will have to get used to, especially where flooding is concerned. Recently, for example, saw Manchester city centre battered by incredibly heavy rain that flooded the streets on September 13th and saw a waterfall come cascading down the escalator at Piccadilly train station. Some 20,000 properties were left in darkness during the torrential downpour, two electric substations were struck by lightning that left trams all over the region stranded and sinkholes have appeared in roads since.