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Communities told to fund flood defences

Local communities and businesses will have to contribute to the funding of flood defence schemes, Environment Agency chief executive Paul Leinster said last week.

The Agency’s spending on flood and coastal risk management is currently at record levels, with £629M allocated by the Department for the Environment Food & Rural Affairs for 2010/11.

But mounting risks posed by climate change mean alternative funding sources will be needed, said Leinster.

“Parochial attitudes”

Flooding activist Ewan Larcombe welcomed Leinster’s comments as “a very good thing”, but warned that local groups could take a “parochial attitude” to building schemes that would pass the problems downstream.

He said more will get done if funding is in the hands of local people. “At least we will get some action,” he said. “If they’d said this before I think locals could have done a better job.”

He said the Agency focused too much on forecasting and not enough on building defences.

Readers' comments (1)

  • Barry Walton

    Déjà vu. As quoted, Mr Leinster's comment reads like he has just made a momentous discovery, but he must know that over the years, parochial flood defence spending was a touchstone in the EA, formerly the National Rivers Authority who broke down activity to relatively small project units to meet engineers' aspirations within regions and responded to low funding and subordination to financing bodies. Equally he should be aware that private funding has supported hard and soft engineering and modelling of water courses for ages. I forget the details but was involved in a commercial development scheme in Hertfordshire years ago. What is newish is perhaps how the EA managed to dilute its river resposnsibilities to forecasting than a flood management organisation as it was under the Regional Water Authorities and then the NRA.

    B Walton

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