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Councils call for devolved flood defence funding after Defra review

New anti-flooding measures must be backed up by giving local councils control of funding, the LGA has said.

The National Flood Resilience Review, published yesterday after delays, said the government would look at “strengthening the role of local partners” in natural flood management, but did not promise councils any new funding.

Cllr Martin Tett, the LGA’s spokesperson for the environment, said some commitments in the report were welcome, including £12.5m for temporary flood defences and the establishment of a national flood resilience infrastructure council.

However, he added: “Councils will need significantly more support from government to help prepare for the possibility of further flooding this winter and recover from any damage.

“Crucially, future funding for flood defences must also be devolved by the government to local areas. This will enable councils, working with communities and businesses, to ensure money is directed towards projects that best reflect local needs.”

The LGA has previously called for flood funding to be devolved, along with mandatory anti-flood measures in new houses.

Rachael Maskell MP, the shadow environment secretary, whose York constituency was one of those devastated by last winter’s floods, said: “This strategy has made no new announcements and is simply an attempt to divert responsibility to local authorities without providing the necessary resources or oversight.”

She accused the government of an “abdication of responsibility” in light of the strategy’s admission that the risk of floods is set to increase because of climate change.

Maskell added: “Yet it is not surprising from a government that has cut jobs at the Environment Agency and abolished the Department for Energy and Climate Change at a time when it is needed most.”

(Image c. Owen Humphreys from PA Images)

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