Built environment consultant Dar Group has called for increased local decision making and more funding to tackle flooding and coastal erosion in response to the government’s latest water management strategy.
In its consultation Improving our management of water in the environment, the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs set out it plans to raise local cash for flood defences and to tackle coastal erosion.
The department has already allocated £2.6bn for flood and coastal defence projects between 2015 to 2021.
But Dar Group lead environmental specialst John McCawley has urged the government to release more funds and give local authorities more power.
“These issues cause serious distress, upheaval and financial loss,” he said. “It is right that those most directly affected are involved in tough decisions about the sustainability of communities and the costs of protection.
He added: “Funding must be realistic and sustainable. That might well mean creating mechanisms that allow local beneficiaries, whether businesses or residents, to contribute more towards improving resilience to flooding and coastal erosion in their areas. Where that happens, local funding must go hand-in-hand with real local decision making.
“Around the world we see deforestation, urbanisation, inadequate drainage and the effects of climate change combining to produce greater volumes and intensities of flood water flowing at greater velocities. This not only erodes the river banks and the surrounding landscape but causes extensive flooding and damage downstream.
“The problem is not insoluble but can mean some tough decisions about abandoning development and re-greening critical areas. The involvement of local communities and businesses in addressing these tough decisions is essential.”
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