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Treasury announces flood defence projects to share £2.3bn

More than 1,400 flood defence schemes are to receive funding to protect at least 300,000 homes in the next six years, according to plans announced by the Treasury. 

The National Infrastructure Plan 2014 includes details of the projects set to benefit from the £2.3bn capital funding committed in last year’s spending round to reduce the risks of flooding and coastal erosion. 

Projects that will benefit include more than £17m for Tonbridge, Yalding and the surrounding communities, £196m for the Thames estuary programme, £73m for the Boston barrier, £57m for the Oxford Flood Alleviation Scheme, and £80m for the Humber Estuary. 

The government has also committed to spend £15.5m in Somerset on flood defences over the next six years benefitting 7,000 properties, including £4.2m on the Somerset Levels and Moors. The Treasury hopes to attract about £600m of additional local contributions through partnership funding. 

The government believes the investment could prevent more than £30bn in economic damage caused by flooding, and it will reduce the overall flood risk by 5% compared to current levels by 2021. 

However, the Coalition has previously come under fire for its flood defence funding, with critics warning that not enough was being spent to protect homes and businesses from the increased risk of flooding in the face of climate change. 

Chief secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander MP, said: “We all saw the destruction and heartache caused by flooding last year and that is why this investment is vital to build Britain’s defences for the future. 

“The projects we are announcing will protect some of the country’s most at-risk locations, ensuing that we will be as prepared as possible for future severe weather.” 

It follows announcements on Monday on how the government will guarantee £15bn of spending on a roads programme

Responding to the latest news, Maria Eagle MP, Labour’s shadow environment secretary, said: “Communities at risk of flooding won’t buy government spin on what is simply a re-announcement of capital funding confirmed a year ago. 

“This is not new money – at the beginning of this Parliament David Cameron cut the flood protection budget by over a £100m a year. As a result we are playing catch up on flood defences. The Committee on Climate on Change has already said that the government’s plans could leave 80,000 additional properties at serious risk of flooding.” 

Flood defences took a battering in last winter’s storms but the Treasury said it expected that 96.4% of the most important defences would be back at target condition by April 2015. 

The National Infrastructure Plan, which was launched at the Institution of Civil Engineers, also sets out the progress made on previously-announced major housing and regeneration schemes, including the first £100m investment to provide infrastructure and land remediation at Ebbsfleet, taking forward the government’s commitment to the first new garden city for almost 100 years, delivering up to 15,000 new homes. 

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