NEW flood protection measures for Cumbria will be worked on by a new group formed to reduce the impact of extreme weather, the Environment Secretary has announced.
The Cumbrian Floods Partnership group will examine what improvements need to be made to flood defences in the worst-affected communities in the north of England, which have been battered by record levels of rainfall this winter.
The group will look at ways to slow vital rivers to reduce the intensity of water flow at peak times, and build stronger links between flood defence planning and local residents, Elizabeth Truss said.
“After seeing first-hand the impact of the flooding in the north of England, it is clear that the growing threat from more extreme weather events means we must reassure ourselves, and those communities at risk, that our defences, our modelling and our future plans are robust,” she said.
The group will be chaired by floods minister Rory Stewart and will consist of community flood defence groups, the Environment Agency and local authorities.
Ms Truss also announced a National Flood Resilience Review and said the Environment Department would reassess how it calculates flood risk, as well as updating the Government’s “worst-case scenario” planning.
The review, which is expected to be published next summer, will look at the impact of climate change and will carry out risk assessments of infrastructure in the area such as electricity substations. It will be led by Oliver Letwin, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, and will include a number of other departments including the Department for Communities and Local Government and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
Ms Truss said: “We are already spending £2.3 billion over the next six years to better protect 300,000 homes from flooding, but we need to be sure we have the very best possible plans in place for flood prevention and protection across the whole country.
“We will take prompt action where we identify any gaps in our approach and where our defences and modelling need strengthening.”