The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has announced plans to incentivise private financing to allow more flood defence schemes to be built.
Defra is proposing reforms to the way in which capital grants are allocated to projects. The new system would enable local communities and businesses to contribute funding to the schemes that will benefit them, in order to ensure the schemes are built.
Defra and the Environment Agency are now taking a consultation on the plans under the National Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management Strategy for England.
“Overall, it is hoped that more projects would proceed than under the current system.”
Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Under the current system, lower priority schemes fall down the queue, said Defra. The reforms would mean that communities can influence their position in the queue by mustering up enough private funding to make the scheme more cost effective from the government’s point of view.
The government would continue to fully fund high priority schemes.
“Where benefits and outcomes significantly outweigh the costs involved, projects may remain fully-funded by Government,” Defra said.
“In other cases, schemes would still go forward over time if costs are reduced or sufficient other funding can be found. Overall, it is hoped that more projects would proceed than under the current system.”
The initiative is borne from the Pitt Review’s recommendation following 2007’s heavy floods that government should “develop a scheme which allows and encourages local communities to invest in flood risk management measures”, which was in turn enacted by the Flood and Water Management Act.