Jim Hall: Clarity on funding, clear targets crucial to long term flood resilience

Commission responds to NAO report on Environment Agency flood resilience plans

Published: 15 Nov 2023

By: Rob Mallows

Tagged: ,

flooded house with sandbags at front door

A value for money report on flood resilience in England published by the National Audit Office today (15 November) warns that under current Environment Agency plans, forty per cent fewer properties in England will be protected from flooding compared to the number first forecast in 2020.

The Resilience to flooding report finds that the Environment Agency now expects to be able to protect 200,000 properties by 2027, instead of the original 336,000 planned. In addition, the NAO finds that 500 of 2,000 planned defence projects will no longer go ahead, despite the doubling in government funding for flood risk management. Its report also raises concerns that a focus on short term funding is undermining efforts to meet maintenance targets.

Responding to the report, Commissioner Professor Jim Hall said:

“Following the recent disruption in the wake of Storm Ciaràn this report is a welcome reminder of the need to improve efforts to boost flood resilience, and it reflects many of the same concerns the Commission set out in last month’s National Infrastructure Assessment.

“Government must set clear and measurable targets to reduce the likelihood of property flooding in urban and rural areas in line with Commission recommendations, to help quantify and target necessary investment – the NAO report highlights the challenges created by this lack of clarity. It is also concerning to hear it warn of a downgrade in the number of homes that will be better protected under the current floods budget.

“The current focus on short term funding settlements will also do little to bolster efforts to properly maintain flood defences over the longer term and ensure they remain fit for purpose in the face of an evolving climate threat. The need for the Environment Agency to have greater certainty over its long term funding is clear.”

In the Second National Infrastructure Assessment published last month, the Commission said government should invest in enhanced flood risk management infrastructure to reduce the risk of coastal, river and surface water flooding, through setting clear risk reduction targets. In the case of surface water flooding, the Assessment called for improving data gathering and coordinated governance at a local level, as well as progressing measures to control the growth of impermeable surfaces.

Share this article

<

Recent Articles

Coming up in 2024
Thumbtack pins in calendar concept for busy, appointment and meeting reminder

Coming up in 2024

This page shows a calendar reflecting the latest expected dates for Commission reports, publications and events. You can also sign up to receive our quarterly newsletter by entering your email address in the box at the foot of each website page.

1 Feb 2024 By
Commission to explore capability of local electricity grid to support renewables push
electricity substation

Commission to explore capability of local electricity grid to support renewables push

Ensuring that the network connecting homes and businesses to the electricity supply can cope with the demands of a fully electric-powered economy will be the focus of a new piece of work by the National Infrastructure Commission. The government has today (27 February) published the terms of reference for the study, which asks the Commission...

27 Feb 2024 By
We’re recruiting – Senior Policy Adviser (environment)
Floodplain near Wollaston

We’re recruiting – Senior Policy Adviser (environment)

We’re looking to recuit someone with a particular interest in water management to join our environment team and help develop policies that enables our infrastructure systems to better protect and enhance our natural environment and safeguard important natural resources in the face of climate change impacts. Based in our Leeds office, the successful candidate will...

23 Feb 2024 By
Letter to government on business models for net zero technologies

Letter to government on business models for net zero technologies

Commission Chair Sir John Armitt has written to government setting out the need to accelerate efforts to encourage private investment in the energy infrastructure pivotal to achieving net zero and energy security. In a letter to the Chancellor and the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, Sir John highlights the importance of...

23 Feb 2024 By

Evidence_Icon_Turquoise Created with Sketch.

Explore data used in the Commission's research, and gain insights from across UK infrastructure

Join our team of professionals supporting the Commission to provide evidence based and forward thinking advice on infrastructure strategy.