THE ENVIRONMENT Agency in the north east is pressing the Government to dramatically boost flood defence funding in a budget submission due in this week.
Funding must rise by up to 60% to repair damage done during this year's inundation and guard against future extreme flooding, said EA north east flood defence and water resources manager David Wilkes.
Wilkes said he expected other regional offices to seek similar funding increases in this week's submission. Overall the Agency spends £150M annually on capital works and £90M on maintenance. The Government has announced an extra £51M over the next four years. But the sum will not enable the Agency to carry out defence work to secure floodsensitive areas against future risk, said Wilkes.
'We have had a very near miss with these floods. A fraction worse and it would have been devastation right across the region, ' he said.
So far the Agency's north east division has spent £2.5M on emergency works. An extra £3M plus will be needed to repair existing defences to match their pre-flood condition.