Flood defence funding concerns

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MPs have raised concerns over whether there will be enough money to maintain and improve flood defences to protect millions of at-risk homes in the future.

Since the 2007 disaster, defences have been built around the country, including on the River Don at locations such as Rotherham, and more are planned, including on Nursery Street, Sheffield.

The House of Commons Public Accounts Committee also warned it was unclear “where the buck stops” for managing the risk of flooding, as the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has said it is not ultimately responsible for the issue.

Defra told the committee it shares responsibility for flooding with the Environment Agency and local councils, but the MPs warned the department had no way of knowing if local flood management was adequate and when it should step in.

A report by the parliamentary committee said the costs of flood damage currently stand at around £1.1 billion a year, and are likely to rise with climate change.

Margaret Hodge, chairwoman of the PAC, said: “The annual cost of flood damage is at least £1.1 billion and ageing defences and climate change will increase that bill. So flood protection is a national priority.

“Yet it is unclear where the buck stops and who is ultimately responsible for managing the risk of flooding.

“There is also a great deal of uncertainty about whether there will be enough money to maintain and improve flood protection in the longer term.”