floodConstruction is to start on 93 new flood defences in England this year to improve protection for more than 64,000 homes, the government has said.

Environment Secretary Owen Paterson pledged £2.3bn to be invested by government up to 2015, with an additional £148m in partnership funding contributions from local councils, businesses and private investors.

He said the 93 schemes would bring "huge relief to tens of thousands of homes and businesses that have lived with the fear of flood waters hitting their doors, as well as fire and rescue services who have to deal with the consequences".

Defra say the schemes will also help growth, suggesting a £50m river defence in Leeds city centre would result in 18,000 new jobs, while 165,000 homes will be better protected by 2015, 20% above target.

Some of the largest projects include:
- More than £80m on coastal defences at Rossall, Lancashire, improving protection to more than 6,000 homes
- A partnership-funded £50.5m scheme in Leeds that, Defra says, will protect 495 businesses and create 18,000 jobs in the city
- Improved protection for 14,000 homes from £14.5m flood defences at Grimsby Docks in Lincolnshire
- A £28.6m sea defence in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk
- New sea defences at Anchorsholme in Lancashire, at a cost of £28.4m
- More than £16m being spent on River Thames tidal defences
- A £10m scheme on the east bank of the River Arun, protecting Littlehampton in West Sussex

One in six homes in England is at risk of flooding, according to the Environment Agency Malcolm Tarling, of the Association of British Insurers. Tarling welcomed the approval of new schemes but expressed concerns about levels of long-term flood defence spending and planning.

"We are in a position now going forward where the exceptional is going to become the everyday," he said. "We are going to see more instances of flooding, I am afraid to say, and we are going to see more instances of extreme heavy rainfall - so flood defence management is crucial.

"But it's also crucial that we plan adequately so that we don't build new homes in areas of high flood risk."

Posted 07/02/2013 by richard.hook@pavpub.com