On the 25th of May, following this full public consultation, the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has set out a new partnership approach to funding flood and coastal erosion risk management. The new approach aims to be both fairer and more transparent than the system it replaces, and offers the potential for much more to be achieved.

The Secretary of State has also announced the laying in Parliament of the National flood and coastal erosion risk management strategy for England ( the ‘national strategy’) and statutory guidance on co-operation and requesting information in flood and coastal erosion risk management, following consultation by the Environment Agency. The national strategy and statutory guidance will take effect on 18th July as long as during that period neither House of Parliament resolves that they shouldn’t be issued. More information is available from the Environment Agency website.

The new funding arrangements will be delivered in the context of the national strategy. Instead of meeting the full costs of just a limited number of projects, the new approach could make Government money available towards any worthwhile scheme. Funding levels for each scheme will relate directly to the number of households protected, the value of damages being prevented, plus the other benefits a scheme would deliver. For the first time, grants for surface water management and property-level protection will be available alongside funding for other risks and approaches.

The coming months will be treated as a transitional period allowing lessons to be learned and the approach to be refined before final arrangements are confirmed in time to apply from April 2013. The Environment Agency are working up detailed guidance for risk management authorities and others in taking these arrangements forward which will be published shortly.

The approach announced is different to the one proposed in a number of important ways, as a direct result of comments made at the consultation stage.

These are:

  • The objectives and principles behind the system have been revised and improved. These are now embodied within the national strategy presented to Parliament.
  • Levels of funding will take better account of local circumstances – the actual levels of risk before and after investment.
  • There is now even more emphasis on prioritising protection for deprived areas. Before only the most deprived 20% were given added support, now it will be the most deprived 40%.
  • The concept of a National Priority Programme has been shelved. People were concerned that this would limit local choice.
  • An introductory guide has been produced, intended for a wide audience. This aims to help people get to grips with the new approach, and apply it to their situation. It has been produced as consultees were concerned that proposals were difficult to understand and communicate.

More details of the new approach are set out in this introductory guide as well as a letter to the Chair of the Environment Agency and a Defra policy statement. These can also be accessed through the link below:

DEFRA have also published a summary of responses to the consultation on Future Funding for Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management. This can be found at: