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  • hammaad saghir

Government Allocates £25m to Support 40 Natural Flood Management Initiatives

To bolster England's flood resilience, the government has earmarked a record £25 million in grant funding over the next three years to support schemes harnessing nature's capabilities to mitigate flooding risks.

Announced today, this substantial funding allocation by the Environment Agency, slated to extend through to March 2027, will empower forty national projects. These initiatives, spearheaded by wildlife, river, and woodland charities, community groups, and local authorities, aim to leverage natural interventions such as tree planting and wetland creation to mitigate flood risks while fostering biodiversity.

The funding surge follows the government's pledge to double its investment in nature-based flood management solutions, with a target to execute 260 projects between 2021 and 2027. These projects were selected from a pool of applications submitted to the Environment Agency following last year's unprecedented funding call, marking the largest-ever initiative for natural flood management schemes.

Among the selected projects is the endeavor by Severn Rivers Trust to implement natural flood management measures in the headwaters of Illey Brook near Halesowen, focusing on soil and land management enhancements to regulate surface water runoff. Similarly, the Ribble Rivers Trust has secured funding to deploy swales, ponds, and leaky barriers across watercourses in the Ribble catchment, aimed at attenuating floodwater flows and bolstering water storage capacity.

The £25 million program aligns with the National Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management Strategy for England, underscoring the government's commitment to fortifying communities against escalating flood risks and fostering climate-resilient environments. It also reinforces key policy directives emphasizing the imperative of nature-based solutions in climate adaptation and environmental preservation.

Environment Agency chair Alan Lovell said it was exciting to see both the growing appetite for natural flood management projects and recognition of the value nature-based approaches can deliver.

"I'm proud of the role the Environment Agency is playing in leading this pioneering program," he said. "We look forward to working with partners to help natural techniques become a mainstream option for flood protection and help create more climate resilient places."

Floods Minister Robbie Moore said harnessing nature to enable climate adaptation, help restore the natural environment, and protect homes and businesses was vital.

"That's why we're funding the biggest-ever investment in natural flood management - and it's great to see the huge demand," he said. "These schemes will complement traditional bricks-and-mortar defences, funded by our £5.2bn flood programme.

"This program is one more part of our plan to bolster flood resilience and shield communities - all whilst boosting biodiversity, restoring habitats, and protecting the environment for future generations."

Mark Lloyd, chief executive of the Rivers Trust, said: "We warmly welcome this significant fund, which will not only protect people and businesses from flooding but will also make more space for nature, purify pollutants, recharge groundwater aquifers, lock up organic carbon and create amenity value for communities."

In related developments, NFU Mutual reported substantial flood damage costs following Storm Henk, urging affected individuals to invest in flood resilience measures to safeguard their properties against future extreme weather events. With more properties anticipated to face flood risks in the coming years, investing in resilience measures remains critical to mitigating the impacts of climate change-induced flooding.

Sean Walkden, head of property claims at NFU Mutual, said that with more properties expected to be at risk of flooding in the coming decades, there was value in investing to make properties more resilient to future flooding.

"While it can be difficult to entirely prevent at-risk homes from flooding, making resilient repairs now can protect your property by reducing the disruption and damage caused by subsequent floods by thousands of pounds," he said.

"They don't have to be expensive measures either. Actions like rewiring sockets higher up the wall, replacing damaged skirting or cabinetry with PVC or metal alternatives, or electing to install waterproof flooring when the old floor is damaged can greatly reduce future risk with minimal upfront cost, so it's worth discussing with your insurer or loss adjuster before repairs get underway.

"As a nation, we need to become more resilient to extreme weather events to better protect people and property, as well as controlling the cost of flooding. A key part of that response must be making sure we adapt after a flood."


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