Flood defence measures lag behind the risks, says committee
MPs have criticised the government’s short-sightedness over investment in flood defences, which they say is threatening the UK’s food production.
Speaking after George Osborne’s spending review last week, chair of environment committee Anne McIntosh said, “Record rainfall in the past two years has led to extensive flooding, cost the economy millions and caused disruption and distress to householders and communities across the UK.”
She added that every pound spent on flood defences by the government was welcome, as it brings benefits to the communities. New measures like the Flood Re insurance scheme would be helpful to ensure that everyone can get affordable insurance.
However, the committee’s report says the funds provided do not keep up with the pace of the increasing threats of floods across the UK. Funding allocation cannot guarantee the protection of agricultural land, posing threats to the UK’s food production.
“The chancellor must ensure that investment increases by £20m year on year”, McIntosh said.
“We need that money over the next 25 years to protect homes and businesses better. Maintenance of these defences and effective dredging of watercourses must be a priority.”
She added, “Delay by the government and the insurance industry in agreeing provision of affordable flood insurance has caused a lot of householders unnecessary uncertainty.”
In June, an insurance thinktank claimed that climate change was making part of the world uninsurable because of the frequent extreme weather events. Meanwhile back in March, the Environment Agency said that Britons will have to adapt to the extreme weather as rainfalls and drought would increase in the coming years.
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