Future flood prevention: Government Response to the Committee's Fourth Report

Fifth Special Report

The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee received and published the Government’s response to its recent report on Future flood prevention on 24 January 2017.The Committee requested further information to this response.

The Government’s further response to the Report was received by the Committee on 20 February 2017, and is appended below and is titled: Future flood prevention: Government’s response to the Committee’s Second Report of Session 2016–17 in its Fourth Report of Session 2016–17, published on 24 January 2017, as HC 926.

Appendix: Government Response

Dear Neil,

I am following up on the Committee’s request for further information from Defra regarding flood prevention.

Firstly, you asked for more information on how we are using the government’s £2.5 bn flood risk management budget to slow the flow of water across catchments so as to reduce the risk of communities flooding in future.

Our approach is to support both a catchment approach to planning and greater use of natural flood management (NFM) measures alongside hard, engineered defences. In the Autumn Statement, we announced funding of £15m specifically for Natural Flood Management schemes across England and further details on where this money will be spent will be announced in due course.

NFM is being used as part of an integrated engineered solution in several schemes already including Lustrum Beck in Stockton on Tees, Skipton in Yorkshire, Perry Barr and Witten in Birmingham and Medmerry on the south coast.

Further potential schemes that work with natural processes are planned for the Great Stour in East Kent, and Rochdale and Littleport.

Details of the projects of our refreshed investment programme will be made public in the next few months. In addition, we are introducing a new reporting measure on NFM which will enable us to say how many schemes include NFM measures in the government’s flood investment capital programme, broadly what measures they are, and how much they cost. Such schemes will be reported within the programme from 2018/19 onwards.

Secondly, you asked for more information on proposals for improving local governance and partnership working at catchment level.

Although we do not agree there is a need for substantial structural change, we are always looking for ways to improve and adapt the way we work to meet current and future needs.

We have recently published the Local Flood Risk Management Action Plan, which contains actions to support Lead Local Flood Authorities in carrying out their responsibilities for managing local flood risk.

In addition, the Environment Agency will be working with interested partners such as Regional Flood Coastal Committees and Internal Drainage Boards to refresh the national flood and coastal erosion management strategy for England. Amongst other things, the revised strategy will set out the authorities involved in flood and coastal erosion risk management and their respective functions. It will also cover how the strategy will contribute towards the achievement of wider environmental objectives.

Dr Therese Coffey MP

23 February 2017