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7 & 8 December 2022


DEFRA consults as flood and coastal erosion strategies face urgent update

Words provided by Environment Analyst


A major call for evidence on how to assess, tackle and pay for management of worsening risks from flooding and coastal erosion has kicked off, aimed at informing DEFRA’s strategy for coming decades as sea levels rise and extreme weather becomes more common.

The call, opened to contributions from 8 July, will feed into the Government’s updated strategy on flooding and coastal erosion due out at the end of 2019, into its infrastructure strategy and into its forthcoming spending review.

These risks, accentuated by both climate change and population growth, have already attracted £2.6bn over six years, funding over 1,000 projects aimed at enhancing protection for 300,000 homes. DEFRA points out this is in addition to the £1bn by 2020 provided to maintain flood defences. Even so, flood defence spending levels have been deeply controversial in recent years after a series of major flooding events have exposed weaknesses in both strategy and infrastructure.

DEFRA’s consultation calls for "evidence that we can use in developing our policy on flood and coastal erosion" that will "allow us to develop a policy direction that better prepares the country and manages the risks of flooding and coastal erosion".

In particular, it is looking for evidence in six main areas, ranging from definitions of resilience to monitoring, adaptation, funding, tax relief and financial risks.

On the different aspects described by the term "resilience", it asks for evidence that could build a more integrated overall concept.

On describing outcomes, driving action and monitoring progress it seeks "examples of cases where metrics have been used effectively to achieve an overarching outcome, and information on the advantages and disadvantages of using composite metrics to describe, drive and monitor flood and coast outcomes".

Adapting to coastal change is another key area of interest. It is looking for information on to what extent coastal protection authorities have adopted joined-up decision-making, integrating coastal management with wider plans and decisions for the area. The consultation is also looking for examples of use or attempted use by councils of powers to fund specific coastal erosion works or to create Coastal Change Management Areas.

Another area relates to corporation tax relief for business contributions. It asks how businesses have taken advantage of the provision for businesses to receive corporation tax relief when they contribute to government-funded flood and coastal projects.

On local funding initiatives for flood risk management, the consultation asks for examples of local initiatives that have been funded from sources outside the public sector and how these could best be helped to succeed.

It also asks for evidence on the barriers and enablers for "use of developer contributions to ensure developments are safe for their lifetime, and what arrangements are in place for maintaining flood assets in new developments".

Finally, the consultation asks about how organisations manage the financial risks that are associated with flooding, in the context of climate change.

The consultation closes on 19 August 2019.


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