Government announces £146m investment to bolster Yorkshire's flood defences

The Government has promised to invest £146m in dozens of schemes designed to protect homes and businesses in Yorkshire and the Humber from flooding.

Albert Street in Hebden Bridge underwater during the Boxing Day flood in 2015

Environment Secretary George Eustice made the pledge when he launched the £5.2bn Flood and Coastal Erosion Investment Plan, which aims to improve protection for 336,000 properties over the next six years and avoid around £32bn of wider economic damage.

The Minister also announced that funding for Yorkshire and the Humber has been increased by £40m this year, because the region has suffered from repeated flooding in recent years, and it will be spent on various projects run by the Environment Agency and local authorities.

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According to the plan, £4.4m will be invested in the Hebden Bridge Flood Alleviation Scheme, which will raise and strengthen river walls to protect properties from the River Calder and Hebden Water, install a canal overflow weir and improve drainage and pumping stations.

Environment Secretary George Eustice

The measures aim to protect around 400 properties in Hebden Bridge, which was devastated by flooding when it was hit by Storm Eva in December 2015 and Storm Ciara in February 2020.

Hebden Bridge Flood Warden Andrew Entwistle said: ““No amount of hard engineering will stop the inundation we suffered on Boxing Day 2015, however it will reduce the damage as the overtopping will be much later and stop sooner than before. It will be effective and reduce the stress of many residents and business owners.”

More than £860m will be spent nationwide and that includes £8.5m to improve sea defences along 26 miles of the Lincolnshire coast and £8m for phase two of the Radcliffe & Redvales Flood Risk Management Scheme in Greater Manchester.

The Government also plans to launch a consultation in the autumn on a range of measures designed to better protect communities hit by frequent flooding.

There are plans to alter the flood insurance system, to allow flooded households to claim extra money to bolster their defences, and update the planning system to make it more difficult to build properties in areas where flooding is a concern.

Mr Eustice said: “The tragic recent events in Germany and Belgium serve as a sobering reminder of how devastating flooding can be.

“We are standing by communities and will bolster defences against flooding across England with many thousands more properties better protected by 2027.

”It’s important we take action right across the system. Our comprehensive plan will achieve this by tightening planning procedures, helping more people access insurance and making homes more resilient to the effects of flooding.”

Chair of the Environment Agency Emma Howard Boyd said: “We have seen some devastating flooding around the world so far this summer. No one can prevent all flooding and climate change means the risk is increasing, but we can reduce the risks.

“Having completed the government’s previous six year capital programme on time and on budget, better protecting more than 314,000 homes from flooding and coastal erosion, this year we began the government’s new £5.2bn flood programme.

“These schemes should provide reassurance to communities and businesses, but no one should have a false sense of security. I strongly urge people to sign up for flood warnings."