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'Record' £860m to be spent on flood protections to protect 336,000 UK homes

Environment Secretary George Eustice said the money will help homes become more resilient to flooding

More than £860 million is to be invested in flood prevention schemes across the UK over the next year, the government has announced.

The plan, which will benefit over 1,000 local schemes and help protect homes and businesses, is part of the coastal erosion investment plan, published on 29 July.

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A damaged house on the banks of the river Ahr is seen in Insul western Germany, weeks after heavy rain and floods caused major damage to the area (Photo by Sascha Schuermann/AFP/Getty)

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At a glance: 5 key points

- The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said the “record investment” would better protect 336,000 properties

- It added the plan could help avoid up to £3.2 billion in economic damages and reduce the national flood risk by up to 11% by 2027

A London taxi drives through water on a flooded road in The Nine Elms district of London on July 25, 2021 during heavy rain (Justin Tallis/AFP/Getty)

- Recent severe flooding in European countries including Belgium, Germany and Italy has left 210 people dead after the Vesdre river burst its banks

- Towns around Italy’s famous Lake Como were also hit by mudslides and floods, with firefighters carrying out more than 60 rescues, though no deaths were reported

- Back home, roads and Tube stations were flooded in the south of England, and a flooded hospital in Whipps Cross, east London, was forced to cancel all surgery and outpatient appointments due to heavy rain

What’s been said

Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said: “Flooding has a devastating impact on people’s lives and that’s why we’re strengthening our guidance to ensure the measures are in place to protect our homes and businesses from the risk of flooding.

“Our planning reforms will ensure that communities across the country know that future developments will be safe from floods.

“This new guidance will help local communities become more flood resilient by providing local authorities with the right tools to consider how flood risk can be prevented when planning for new homes.”

Background

The government added householders would also benefit from changes to the scheme allowing insurers to pay an additional amount for the installation of property protections such as air brick covers, flood doors and flood resistant plasterboard.

The changes come as heavy downpours battered the country, causing disruption from Scotland to London with the Met Office putting both yellow and amber weather warnings in place.

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

“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.”