Plans to spend £745M in the coming year on protecting thousands of extra homes from coastal and river flooding have been outlined by the Environment Agency.
The money from the Environment Department (Defra), Welsh Assembly Government, local authorities and the EU will go on building new and maintaining existing defences, developing flood forecasting methods and raising public awareness of the risks of flooding.
The investment is part of efforts by the Environment Agency to reduce the risk of flooding to more than 200,000 homes and businesses in England and Wales by 2015.
Major river and coastal erosion projects which will receive funding in the next financial year include £14M towards a £51M scheme to protect 16,000 properties along the River Trent in Nottingham.
Two new pumping stations and the refurbishment of tidal sluices in Barking and Dagenham, London, form part of a £12 million scheme to protect 5,500 homes and businesses.
And in Dymchurch, Kent, £11.9M will be spent on completing a £60M sea defences scheme to help protect 6,000 properties, the Environment Agency said.
The agency’s chairman, Lord Chris Smith, said: “The 2007 floods cost homeowners, businesses, emergency services and others some £3.2bn.
“The high cost of flooding underlines the importance of continued investment in reducing flood risk, particularly in face of the more frequent and heavy storms and rising sea levels that will come with climate change.”
He said it was essential to continue to defend communities against flooding and coastal erosion, but also for people to be prepared for floods which could not be prevented.