The Government has been accused of failing to deliver on promises to fund “natural” flood management schemes such as planting trees.
A Freedom of Information request by Friends of the Earth (FoE) to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) revealed there was no funding earmarked specifically for natural flood management.
That is despite evidence that schemes such as Pickering’s pilot “Slowing The Flow” project –which included planting 40,000 trees – appears to help cut the risk of flooding.
The scheme was tested in 2012 when the notorious flooding hotspot came within an inch or two of being inundated. During last December’s floods it was credited with reducing peak flood flow by up to 20 per cent and preventing the flooding of a number of homes and the town’s museum.
The campaign group said the lack of funding went against promises from Ministers to finance natural flood management measures – and followed an announcement in the last Budget of an extra £700m for flood defences.
FoE and a new charity, Rewilding Britain, which wants to see landscapes returned to a more natural state with more wildlife, are calling for at least £20m for natural flood defences in this week’s Autumn Statement.
Guy Shrubsole, from FoE, said: “Last winter’s floods were a powerful reminder that we need to work with nature to reduce flood risk – and Ministers wholeheartedly agreed. But so far it’s been all talk and no action – the Government has failed to spend a Continued on Page 2.