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£46bn needed for future flood protection in UK

cumbria floods

A £1bn annual investment in flood protection in the UK will be needed up until 2065, an economic assessment by the Environment Agency (EA) has found. 

The long-term investment assessment incorporated new climate change, population and mapping data to set out potential future scenarios to aid planning for flooding and coastal risk management over the next 50 years. 

The previous assessment in 2014 had recommended £860M of investment per year was needed to combat the risk of flooding. 

The assessment considered multiple approaches to investment, including building and maintaining large-scale engineered defences, natural flood management techniques such as planting trees and slowing the flow of water and property flood resilience for homes. 

Further investment is also vital for the protection of infrastructure and transport assets as well as protecting homes, with 41% of transport and utility networks in areas at risk of flooding. This infrastructure serves an estimated 60% of households in England. 

Environment Agency director for flood strategy Julie Foley said the evidence generated with be key in directing future policy. 

“This report sets out the level of investment we need to consider over the next 50 years alongside the action we need to take to ensure that communities, businesses and vital infrastructure are resilient to flooding and coastal erosion,” she said. 

“The scenarios are a key evidence base to inform our Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management Strategy, due later this year, and will help government, businesses and the insurance industry plan for the future,” she added. 

The EA has already set aside £2.6bn for flood and coastal erosion risk management projects between 2015 and 2021, and is expected to publish its new Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management Strategy later this year.  

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