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Defra to set coastal funding priorities

CHANGES TO government funding rules are needed so priority coastal defence schemes can be financed, a senior government strategist admitted last month.

'There are far more schemes - many of which are pressing - than there is funding for at present, ' said Martin Roberts, flood and coastal erosion risk programme manager at the Department for the Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra).

'We're looking for new sources of funding, and for ways of using existing sources that are currently unavailable.' Roberts was responding to complaints from local authorities that attempts to find funding were frustrated by red tape - government rules prohibit combining cash from different sources to finance coastal defence schemes.

Potential sources include European Union development funding, regional development agencies, the Environment Agency and Defra grants directly to local authorities.

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