House of Commons Library

Flood defence spending in England

Published Monday, November 17, 2014

A House of Commons Library Paper on Flood defence spending in England as at 2014.

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This Briefing Paper has been superseded by the Library Briefing Paper on Flood risk management and funding. It should only be consulted as a reference to the position in 2014.

Average flood damage costs are currently £1.1 billion per year. Maintaining existing levels of flood defence would require spending on flood defences to increase to over £1 billion per year by 2035. National flood defence spending will reduce slightly from current levels over the next four years. While the overall number of properties at risk of flooding may not rise in the short term, there could be a significant increase in the longer term if current spending levels do not increase.

Some 5.2 million properties are at risk of flooding in England. Annual flood damage costs are in the region of £1.1 billion. These costs could rise to as much as £27 billion by 2080. It has been estimated that maintaining existing levels of flood defence would require flood defence spending to increase to over £1 billion per year by 2035.

Central Government spending on flood defences will reduce in real terms over the spending review period. The Government has introduced a new flood defence funding system, which it believes will help to meet the shortfall. The new funding arrangements seek to encourage more local investment in flood defences, so that schemes that might not be funded nationally may still go ahead.

There are concerns about the extent to which local communities are able to contribute to flood defence funding. While the number of properties at risk of flooding may not rise in the short term, there could be a significant increase in the longer term if current spending levels do not increase.

 

Commons Briefing papers SN05755

Authors: Oliver Bennett; Sarah Hartwell-Naguib

Topics: Agriculture and environment, Flooding

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