New Policy Statement published by Government on flood and coastal erosion

Yesterday morning the Government published its Flood and coastal erosion risk management Policy Statement. In the afternoon the Environment Agency published its National Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management Strategy for England.

Steve Maslen, Head of Environment and Sustainability takes an early look at these two documents. 

Flood and coastal erosion management Policy Statement

The Policy Statement describes how £5.2 billion of capital funding from 2021-2027 will be spent to:

create around 2,000 new flood and coastal defenses to better protect 336,000 properties with support to help households and businesses get back on their feet more quickly after flooding.

Interesting angles on the planned funding include that there is to be ring-fenced funding of £200 million, to deliver innovative resilience measures such as nature based solutions. On this, the really interesting piece from my perspective is that it responds to our work for Defra researching the The Enablers and Barriers to the Delivery of Natural Flood Management Projects.

Our work, reported to Defra last year, identified the need for funding to be available for partnerships to investigate and prepare proposals. The new funding arrangements ‘will provide some preparation funding’ in 2020-21. This is great news. It could go some way to remove one identified barrier and help support the new Policy objective of harnessing the power of nature to not only reduce flood risk, but deliver benefits for climate, nature and communities.

National Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management Strategy for England

Yesterday’s afternoon reading arrived with my coffee and set me thinking ‘please not the same old same old’, and they anticipated me. The Strategy has a convenient Boxed section with the headline What will be different? These differences are striking, important and they will need a lot of development since there are no off the shelf templates or cultural flood management traditions to draw on.

These strategic differences include making greater use of nature-based solutions that take a catchment led approach to managing the flow of water to improve resilience to both floods and droughts.  The new strategic way of working will now include delivering practical and innovative actions that help to bolster resilience to flood and coastal change in local places. This implicitly recognises that this will involve innovation – new thinking and actions. In the context of climate change and uncertainty, the application of adaptive pathways will demand some significant engagement with communities and with those impacted. There are are not a huge number of case studies to illustrate what best practice looks like for the immediate roll out of the Strategy in these areas.

There is a lot to digest in both these documents and it will take more than a few coffees to get you through them. They are, I believe a huge step forward and should go some way to providing a clear strategic direction for the FCERM community in England. They will also provide something for local politicians to hold onto as they increasingly get engulfed in adverse flood headlines.

Want to know more?

For more information email Steve Maslen.  The full documents can be read here:

Flood and coastal erosion Policy Statement

National Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management Strategy for England


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