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ICE: Protect infrastructure, not just homes from floods

Government plans to fund local flood schemes according to the number of homes they will protect could leave larger infrastructure assets vulnerable, the ICE said this week.

Government plans to fund local flood schemes according to the number of homes they will protect could leave larger infrastructure assets vulnerable, the ICE said this week.

The ICE is calling for an extension to the plan to recognise larger-than-local infrastructure such as major road, rail and power links as way justifying flood defence schemes.

Holistic approach

It said that a more “holistic” approach to the way future flood schemes are to be chosen and funded is needed.

The government’s localism agenda includes proposals to allocate central funding for flood defence projects largely according to the number of households the project will protect. Where funding cannot be wholly met by central government, shortfalls are expected to be plugged by private investment, local levies and third party beneficiaries.

This would encourage more potential investors and protect large infrastructure assets that are interdependent on a wide range of local flood threats, they said.

The ICE also raised concerns about how the new “duty to cooperate” obligation on local authorities will be enforced. This duty will oblige local authorities to take account of national and regional infrastructure strategy when deciding whether to back local flood defence schemes.

Chairman of the group which drafted a new ICE report on the subject, Dick Thomas, said “the new funding approach can be a very powerful tool for the way we fund local projects, but it is crucial that the formula is correctly designed.”

He warned that “water does not obey administrative boundaries, so this new approach will require an unprecedented culture of cooperation across local authority limits.”

  • The ICE’s report Flood Risk Management: A Local Issue of National Importance is published today.

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