- Luke Pollard MP has slammed Government over lack of funding for flood protection
- Government has pledged much less than the £1bn a year needed to protect coastal communities
- Cuts to local authority budgets make environmental protection more difficult
Speaking from the despatch box, Luke Pollard MP for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport questioned Environment Secretary Michael Gove about proper funding for flood protection. The Environment Agency said last week that they are preparing for a 4°C rise in global temperatures, and that £1bn a year is needed for flood and coastal defences to protect coastal communities.
But the Government have only pledged £2.6bn over just the next 6 years for flood protection and local authority budgets have been cut, meaning there are fewer frontline resources to deal with the projected rise in sea levels.
“Today in Parliament I challenged Michael Gove, the Environment Secretary, over funding for flooding protection. This morning, the Environment Agency announced that an average of £1bn a year is needed to protect our coastal communities due to the threat from rising sea levels.
“The Government has currently only pledged £2.6bn over the next 6 years. This is not good enough to protect our coastal communities from a future flood catastrophe. The Environment Agency manages flood risk along 36,000 km of rivers and as of 2018 its environmental protection budget had been cut by 55% since 2010.
“This puts even more pressure on local authorities who have seen their budgets slashed under austerity, with coastal communities like Plymouth hit the hardest. Coastal towns are at the frontline of climate change and will be the first ones to deal with the fallout from climate change. We must be properly prepared to avoid damage to our homes.
“That’s why I called on the Government for more funding to tackle flood risk and climate change and urged the Secretary of State to set out what they were doing to address this urgent issue. What was clear from Michael Gove’s response is that the Government in fact doesn’t have a clear or proper plan to deal with climate change.”