£46 million flood defences to protect thousands of North East homes

Experts warn flood defences may not be enough because of global warming

Danny Lawson/PA Wire Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander
Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander

New flood defences costing £46 million are to protect thousands of homes across the North East, Ministers said.

The measures are part of a six-year £2.3 billion flood defence programme announced as part of the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement.

The 116 North East schemes getting the green light include a new £8.1 million flood defence scheme in Greatham South and Port Clarence, where a number of properties were flooded as a result of a tidal surge last December.

This scheme, set to start construction in spring 2015, will help protect 351 homes and 32 commercial properties, Ministers said.

Other schemes funded over the next two years include:

* Over 120 properties will be protected from non-tidal river flooding as a result of a new flood defence scheme at Lustrum Beck.

* £4 million set to be invested in flood defence schemes that will protect 750 homes in Monkton Village in South Tyneside.

Danny Alexander, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury said: “Northumberland’s coastline has seen devastating flooding in the past, so I have earmarked £46 million of flood defence funding across the region to protect thousands of homes here.

“Investing £2.3 billion to support 1,400 schemes across the country will protect 300,000 homes from the north-east to the south-west. As well as ensuring people’s safety and peace of mind it will also bring over £30 billion of economic benefit, making it great value for money as part of this government’s drive for a stronger economy and a fairer society.”

Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss said: “Flood protection is vital and under our plans 116 projects across the region, including the new flood defence scheme in Greatham South and Port Clarence, will bring peace of mind to residents and businesses.

“We are spending £3.2 billion in flood management and defences over the course of this parliament - half a billion pounds more than in the previous parliament. This, combined with the record level of investment in capital we have set out today, will improve protection to 465,000 homes and businesses by the end of the decade.”

The investment programme was published alongside a new long term study from the Environment Agency, which shows that the planned investment will reduce overall flood and coastal erosion risk in England.

But the Environment Agency warned that if high levels of climate change are seen it could add some £60 million a year to the long term costs of flood protection.

And the Chartered Institute of Water and Environmental Management warned that current funding levels were not enough to cope with the impact of climate change.

Jed Ramsay, the chartered institute’s Rivers & Coastal Treasurer, said: “Failure to maintain our existing flood defences and invest sustainably and sensibly in new flood risk schemes will lead to continued loss of life and property, extensive damage to the UK economy and ongoing misery for millions of people.”

Chris Leslie MP, Labour’s Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, said: “Ministers cut flood defence spending by 10 per cent at the beginning of the parliament and are now playing catch up with the Committee on Climate Change saying that current plans could see 80,000 more homes at risk.”

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