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UK News Poor communities ‘losing out on flood-defence funds’ and approach must change, Labour MP warns

23:25  18 february  2020
23:25  18 february  2020 Source:   inews.co.uk

Mark Drakeford defends investment into flood defences in Wales

  Mark Drakeford defends investment into flood defences in Wales The First Minister visited homes in one of the worst-affected areas in South Wales on Monday following flooding from Storm DennisThe First Minister visited several homes on Monday in one of South Wales’ worst hit-communities, Oxford Street in Nantgarw, which saw heavy flooding on the weekend leaving properties and businesses ruined.

By cutting too far too fast, the government will leave communities blighted, with homeowners unable to insure, mortgage or sell their homes after 2013. "Under the new partnership funding system, the most at-risk and deprived areas can receive more money for flood defence schemes with funding

A Guardian analysis of planned flood defences in Leeds shows that a £180m scheme that was delayed Truss met the MP ’s on Wednesday and Rachel Reeves, Labour MP for Leeds West, said: “It was just The government must drop its complacency over the need for climate change adaptation.”

a man riding on the back of a car © Provided by The i

Labour accused the Government of not doing enough to resolve the recurring problem of flooding, with poorer communities losing out.

Officials are insistent that the Government is providing ample funding to help protect communities from flood risk, highlighting that £2.6bn is being spent between 2016 and 2021 on improving flood defences across England.

Jeremy Corbyn standing in front of a crowd © Provided by The i

That has included the completion of a £34m flood defence scheme in Warrington, protecting more than 2,000 homes, and a £63m flood defence scheme in Rossall, reducing the flood risk to 7,500 homes.

But the shadow Defra Secretary, Luke Pollard, told i that these headline statistics mask serious problems with the way flood defence funding is handled in the UK. “Communities can’t be saved from rising water by government press releases,” he said. “What we actually need is a change of approach.”

‘Should Boris Johnson be here? I don’t know what difference it would make’: Ironbridge residents on Storm Dennis floods

  ‘Should Boris Johnson be here? I don’t know what difference it would make’: Ironbridge residents on Storm Dennis floods Residents pull together in Ironbridge after river Severn rises to highest level in 20 yearsThirty houses and shops dating back to the 18th century were evacuated at Ironbridge in Shropshire as the river Severn rose to its highest level in 20 years and the Environment Agency issued a warning of danger to life.

Labour MP Ms Creagh said: "We know that flooding is projected to get worse and occur more frequently because of climate change , so it just isn't good enough for government to react to flooding events as they occur. " Communities at risk deserve certainty from government."

Ben Bradshaw, the Labour MP for Exeter, said the city had come close to disaster because of a lack of investment in flood defences over the past 50 Bradshaw also argued there was too little investment in protecting the main train line out of Devon and Cornwall. It has been blocked by floodwater and

  Poor communities ‘losing out on flood-defence funds’ and approach must change, Labour MP warns © Provided by The i

Shadow Defra Secretary, Luke Pollard, pictured with Jeremy Corbyn, said that these headline statistics mask serious problems with the way flood defence funding is handled in the UK (Photo: Matt Cardy/Getty)

Many say there is not enough cash going into the system. The Environment Agency suggests at least £1bn a year will have to be spent on managing England’s flood threat in the future just to maintain current risk levels; current annual spending hovers at about £880m.

Top-up funding

Meanwhile, local authorities are often forced to source matched funding before defence schemes get the go ahead. Between 2016 and 2021, some £1.6bn is set to be raised from local councils, drainage boards, private companies and individuals towards flood spending, according to Defra figures.

Govt offers £500 flood relief to homeowners

  Govt offers £500 flood relief to homeowners Owners of flood-hit homes will be able to apply for a £500 emergency grant under a raft of relief measures announced by the government. © Getty Nearly 600 properties have been flooded across England The communities department has also pledged those hit severely by the rising water levels will not have to pay any council tax or business rates for at least three months as a huge clean-up operation continues.

Flood defences – flood walls, barriers, overflow flood channels, and the like – protect particular localities against A comprehensive approach to flood risk involves a different form of investment Whereas flood defence will only help particular communities , investments that reduce the extent of

He plans a "big tent" approach to ensure Labour does not miss out on votes in the south of England, saying the party has to "broaden its appeal". Earlier this year it was reported that senior New Labour figures Lord Mandelson and Alistair Campbell approached Mr Johnson over a leadership bid

Mr Pollard said this can mean richer areas enjoy greater levels of flood protection than poorer areas. “If you are in a poorer community then it’s harder to raise the funds for matched funding,” he pointed out.

Councils are often forced to find matched funding for flood defence schemes (Photo: Christopher Furlong/Getty)

Local authorities also complain that having to source matched funding leads to severe delays in getting projects signed off. In Leeds, a major project to protect the city after it suffered devastating flooding in 2015 is still only partially underway, after the Government said it would only provide £65m towards the £112.1m bill. Last month work started on the first phase of the scheme, but the council still faces a £25.7m shortfall in getting the full project underway.

Race against climate change

Climate change poses an added challenge. Not only will new defences need to be built to withstand the higher water levels predicted in the future, older defences must also be upgraded. Defences built in 2007 across Worcestershire were meant to withstand a once in a hundred year flood. But barely a decade after their construction, they came worryingly close to being breached.

Storm Dennis: Communities brace for more heavy rain as river levels threaten to breach flood defences

  Storm Dennis: Communities brace for more heavy rain as river levels threaten to breach flood defences The Met Office has issued yellow weather warnings for persistent rain in Wales, north-west England and southern Scotland for Thursday and the north of England and Scotland for Friday. © Provided by The i Kate Marks of the Environment Agency said communities would continue to feel the effects of Storm Dennis “for a few more days” after it passed.Yellow weather warnings © Provided by The i Flooded homes on the banks of the River Severn following Storm Dennis (Photo: Christopher Furlong/Getty)The River Severn peaked at 21ft (6.

The government was warned by its own advisory body that a funding gap could leave swaths of the north vulnerable to flooding just weeks before Labour said his words show that key projects in the affected areas would need to be scrapped because of a lack of funding . Jon Trickett MP , the shadow

Urgent changes needed to cut risk of extreme heat, drought, floods and poverty, says IPCC. Insects, which are vital for pollination of crops, and plants are almost twice as likely to lose half their habitat at 2C compared with “Climate change is occurring earlier and more rapidly than expected.

Read More:

UK flood warnings map: full list of latest Environment Agency alerts after Storm Dennis causes flooding

The near miss demonstrates the game of catch-up officials are playing to stay one step ahead of the flood water. Experts say the current system is too disjointed and sluggish to handle the growing threat.

The Committee on Climate Change, which advises ministers on climate strategy, has repeatedly complained that the Government does not have a joined-up approach to managing flood risk.

"I want to see a new, comprehensive, joined up funding plan for flooding," Mr Pollard said. "Now Parliament has declared a climate emergency we are going to have to do things differently. And one of those things is preparing for more severe flooding more often."

UK's Johnson under fire for flood response as more rain due .
LONDON (AP) — The leader of Britain’s main opposition party set out to visit flood-hit communities Thursday as criticism grew of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's response to the emergency. Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn planned to tour parts of south Wales that were inundated when last-weekend's Storm Dennis dumped up to 6 inches (150 mm) of rain. The U.K. Meteorological Office said more heavy rain is forecast in already flooded areas of Wales and central England over the next 48 hours.

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