In the Budget on 18th March, the Chancellor announced that the government was bringing forward £140m of the £2.3bn six-year flood defence programme. This is clearly good news for the 31,000 homes that will benefit from greater protection, sooner than would otherwise have been the case.
However, as Jon Williams, PwC sustainability and climate change partner, said “With one in six homes in the UK at risk of flooding, clearly more can always be done to accelerate investment, and today’s announcement still only amounts to 10% of the homes at risk gaining protection. Balancing the Government’s overall budget and ongoing austerity measures need to be weighed against the economic losses from flooding, which are only likely to rise as our climate changes.”
Over the next six years more will hopefully be done on the macro scale to protect some of the homes and businesses in the areas worst affected by flooding. In the meantime, many people will be faced with the desperate effects of flooding despite the fact that much of the damage could be avoided with relatively simple measures. What’s more, compared with the devastating impact that flooding can have, the cost of taking such measures is usually quite modest (typically between £1,500 and £9,000).
So why don’t more people at risk from flooding take these measures? We suspect much of it is complacency. Like so many other areas in our lives, people just don’t believe it will happen to them.
It would of course have helped if local authorities had been able to get the message about Repair and Renew Grants to more of those who were affected by the flooding in December 2013. Much of the money that was allocated for the grants has not been spent.
We have heard that some authorities have extended the deadline beyond March 2015, so if you were flooded between 1st April 2013 and 31st March 2014, it would be worth approaching your local authority to ask whether you can still submit a claim.