Worcester’s MP Robin Walker has welcomed a major new programme of catchment wide flood prevention measures along the River Severn following devastating floods that hit Worcester earlier this year.

At the time of the floods in February, Robin welcomed flood Minister Rebecca Pow to Worcester to show her the impact of flooding locally and he discussed with her the need for a whole catchment strategy to prevent and better manage future floods including more tree planting and better local plans. He was delighted to hear today the announcement of a £5.2 billion programme of investment to support flood resilience nationally and the launch of a major Severn catchment pilot project to protect and support 22,000 jobs along the course of the Severn Valley. Alongside this the Government has announced a new £200 million fund for Innovative Resilience projects that combine improvements to flood resilience with wider environmental objectives and significant funding for the Worcestershire town of Tenbury Wells.

Homes and businesses across the country will be better protected and more resilient in future after the government revealed its long-term plan to tackle the risks of flooding and coastal erosion.

The measures set out in the new plan are the most comprehensive in a decade, including investment of £5.2 billion to create around 2,000 new flood and coastal defences to better protect 336,000 properties in England by 2027, alongside support to help households and businesses get back on their feet more quickly after flooding.

The government’s ambitious long-term plan sets out five key commitments – supported by over 40 clear actions – which will accelerate progress to better protect and better prepare the country for the coming years:

  1. Upgrading and expanding flood defences and infrastructure across the country;
  2. Managing the flow of water to both reduce flood risk and manage drought;
  3. Harnessing the power of nature to not only reduce flood risk, but deliver benefits for the environment, nature, and communities;
  4. Better preparing communities for when flooding and erosion does occur; and
  5. Ensuring every area of England has a comprehensive local plan for dealing with flooding and coastal erosion.

The plan will see the delivery of flood and coastal defences to prevent £32 billion in economic damage, the creation of areas to store water during flooding and greater use of nature based solutions to reduce flood risk.

The plan also sets out proposed changes to the joint government and insurance industry Flood Re scheme. Subject to consultation, this will allow claims to include an additional amount so that flood resilience measures are included in repairs, and allow households that have property flood resilience measures in place to benefit from lower premiums.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:

“Last winter I saw for myself the misery and upheaval that flooding can bring to lives and livelihoods and I said we would do more to help people.”

“This long-term plan will help push back the flood waters and protect hundreds of thousands of homes, businesses and livelihoods.”

“Our record investment will also stimulate economic growth across the UK as we build back better.”

Environment Secretary George Eustice said:

“The devastating impacts of last winter’s flooding were an important reminder of the need to continue to invest and accelerate action to reduce the impact of flooding on our communities.”

“Our record investment and ambitious policies will better protect homes, schools, hospitals and businesses, but we also recognise that we cannot prevent flooding entirely, which is why we will ensure that communities at high risk are more resilient.”

“Working closely with the Environment Agency, local authorities, business and the third sector we will create a better protected and prepared nation.”

Robin Walker, MP for Worcester said:

“Flooding is a menace that Worcester homes and businesses know all too much about and boosting our natural defences against flooding through better management of catchment areas and more tree-planting has to be the right thing to do.”

“I will always support the case for more and better local flood defences and I welcome the opportunity to bid for more out of the £200m innovation fund which has been launched today. I know some Worcester communities such as Toronto Close would benefit from flood defences and I will continue to push for these but the whole Severn valley will benefit if we can better manage the flow of water and retain more upstream.”

“Today’s announcement is a big step in the right direction and the investments we make in environmentally friendly flood management will benefit not only jobs and livelihoods today but generations to come.”

Notes to editors

For today’s announcement from DEFRA, see:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/multi-billion-pound-investment-as-government-unveils-new-long-term-plan-to-tackle-flooding

For Robin’s previous comments on flooding and flood resilience, see:

https://www.walker4worcester.com/2020/03/investment-in-flood-defence-coronavirus-and-business-rate-relief-amongst-measures-welcomed-by-walker-in-the-budget-2020/

https://www.walker4worcester.com/2020/02/worcester-eligible-for-major-package-of-support-for-flooding/

https://www.southworcestervoice.co.uk/worcester-mp-robin-walker-floods-worcestershire-22-02-20