Wednesday, December 22, 2010

UK flood defence cuts leave 5 million vulnerable homes 'at risk'

Damian Carrington in the Guardian (UK): The government's cuts to the UK's flood defence budgets risk leaving the country's 5m at-risk homes less protected and the poorest communities losing out to richer areas, according to a critical report by MPs. "Urgent action is needed to ensure that our communities are adequately and effectively protected from flooding," said Anne McIntosh, a Conservative MP and chair of the Environment, Food and Rural affairs select committee.

The increased risk of flooding, such as the floods that swamped homes in Cornwall last month, is due to climate change. Under the last government, spending on flood defences rose 33% in the four years to 2010/1. But the coalition government cut flood-defence spending in the comprehensive spending review.

"Simply to maintain the current level of protection in the face of increasing flood risks requires increased investment and the significant CSR cuts will increase concerns that funding on flood defences remains inadequate," the committee's report concluded, noting the cuts could be a "classic example" of a false economy.

McIntosh said the biggest challenge was whether local authorities would have sufficient money to protect their communities from flooding when the responsibility is passed to them on 1 April next year. Defra and the Department for Communities and Local Government suffered the largest budget cuts in Whitehall. "It's all very well for the government to say we're not ringfencing [local spending], but how do we know they are going to have the money for flood defences," said McIntosh….

Flooding in Hull, 2007, shot by walnut whippet, Wikimedia Commons via Flickr, under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

".. such as the floods that swamped homes in Cornwall last month, is due to climate change."

Um, I think the flooding was due to rain. Rain is something people in the Uk are familair with.