Prime Minister Boris Johnson proposed 5.2 billion pounds ($6.6 billion) of spending on flood defenses through 2027 as his government seeks to protect hundreds of thousands of British homes.
Under the plan, billed as “the most comprehensive in a decade,” the UK will build about 2,000 new flood and coastal defenses to better protect about 336,000 properties, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said in an emailed statement. Some 170 million pounds of spending will be accelerated to push forward on “shovel-ready” projects this year and next, it said.
The UK has been beset by a series of floods in recent years, including inundations in northern England in the run-up to December’s general election, when Johnson was criticized by the opposition Labour Party for his “woeful” response.
“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,” Johnson said in the statement. “This long-term plan will help push back the flood waters and protect hundreds of thousands of homes, businesses and livelihoods.”
Under the plans, the UK’s Flood Re insurance program will also be modified to allow claims to include the installation of flood resilience measures as well as repairs for affected properties.
The government will put 200 million pounds into drainage techniques that make use of nature and restore habitats, according to the statement.
“For every pound spent improving protection from flooding and coastal erosion, we avoid around 5 pounds of property damages,” Environment Agency Chairman Emma Howard Boyd said. “The long-term commitments announced today will make homes, businesses and infrastructure more resilient to the accelerating impacts of the climate crisis.”
Photograph: Flood water covers the roads and some houses in the Fishlake area in Doncaster, England on on Nov. 12, 2019. Photo credit: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images.