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Somerset Levels flood plan to cost government £10M this year

The Environment Agency will spend £10M this financial year on flood prevention in the Somerset Levels.

The figure was revealed in a report setting out how the public body is tackling flood risk after the wettest winter in 250 years.

A total of £240M was announced by the government in February and March last year for repairing and maintaining flood and coastal erosion risk management assets over two years from April 2014.

The Agency said in a report today that £10M of this would be spent implementing the Somerset Levels and Moors Flood Action Plan in 2014/15. This plan includes controversial dredging of the rivers Parrett and Tone, as well as creating permanent pumping sites.

A further £70M of the extra cash will be spent across the two years on maintaining the Agency’s ‘priority assets’ - those protecting ‘high consequence’ areas.

This will leave two-thirds of the total funding for repairing risk management authority assets damaged since the severe weather began on 5 December 2013, although some of this will also be spent on maintenance of the Agency’s priority assets.

Ministers were heavily criticised earlier this year for a series of emergency measures announced for the Levels.

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