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.
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.