Mackley has welcomed the findings of a report which urges the Government to invest in the upkeep of existing critical flood defences, as well as investing in new defences.
Published on 9 June, the Environmental Audit Committee report criticises a ‘reactive approach to funding’ for flood defences which it says exposes the Government’s lack of long-term strategic planning to manage flood risk.
The report also found that the condition of critical flood defences is in decline, citing the independent Worsfold review which reviewed the maintenance of the Environment Agency’s flood and coastal risk management (FCRM) assets.
The committee says that as the funding for critical flood defences was cut, the number of defences which met the Environment Agency’s required condition also declined.
The report was commissioned to inform the Government’s National Flood Resilience Review – set up in the wake of last winter’s flooding across the UK.
Mary Creagh MP, Chair of the Environmental Audit Committee, said: “We know that flooding is projected to get worse and occur more frequently because of climate change, so it just isn’t good enough for Government to react to flooding events as they occur. Communities at risk deserve certainty from Government.
“The Government needs to put money into the upkeep of existing flood defences as well as investing in new defences. Failure to do so can have terrible consequences for residents and businesses when defences fail.
“Any decline in the condition of critical flood defences represents an unacceptable risk to local communities in flood prone areas. We urge the Government to go beyond its current target and aim to have virtually all its critical assets meeting the Environment Agency’s required condition by 2019.”
Commenting on the report’s finding, Tony Camilleri, Managing Director at Mackley, said: “We fully support the notion that long-term strategic planning is essential when it comes to reducing flood risk, and echo the Environmental Audit Committee’s call for more to be spent on keeping existing flood defences up to the required standard.
“We also support the committee’s call for all critical flood defence assets to meet the Environment Agency’s required condition by 2019. Communities living with the threat of flooding need to be reassured that the Government is doing all it can to mitigate against the devastation that flood water can cause.
“We look forward to continuing our support for the critical work undertaken by our colleagues at the Environment Agency.”
15 June 2016
Footnote: the photo shows the Prime Minister David Cameron on a visit he made to the Somerset Levels to see efforts to relieve the flooding which badly affected the area in 2014.