NW councils given funding to reduce flood risk

Michael Hunt

Local authorities in the North West have received a total of £890,000 to reduce surface water flooding, a problem where the ground, rivers and drains cannot absorb heavy rainfall.

Environment Minister Huw Irranca-Davies made the announcement today as part of a £5.3m award to 49 local authorities.

Those benefiting in the North West includes:

  • Association of Greater Manchester authorities – £225,000
  • Cheshire East Council – £100,000
  • Cumbria County Council – £84,000
  • Sefton Council – £100,000
  • Warrington Council – £290,000
  • Halton Council – £100,000

Last year local authorities were invited to submit bids for £20,000 to £100,000 to carry out immediate engineering works and to produce specific management plans to help them deal with known local flooding problems.

More than 1,600 properties are expected to benefit directly from the works and the plans aim at helping local authorities to understand better ways of managing flood risk for a further 112,000 properties.

Irranca-Davies said: "Local authorities have a crucial role to play in tackling flooding and it's vital that they have these funds now so that work can begin on resolving local flooding immediately. At the same time they will have the chance to develop the understanding and skills they need for the longer term. We wanted to make sure these funds go where it's most needed and where it can make the biggest difference."

In August last year, £9.7m was awarded to 77 local authorities in areas where evidence shows that the risk and potential impact of surface water flooding could be highest. Preparation of surface water management plans for these areas is already underway.

An additional £1m is planned to be spent this year on making training, data and other tools available to help all local authorities manage flood risk.

Updated guidance is also being issued today to help those local authorities which are developing surface water management plans.

The 2007 Pitt review highlighted the dangers from surface water flooding and made a number of recommendations. These included giving local authorities new responsibilities for flood risk management and the development of surface water management plans. The Environment Agency has estimated that around two thirds of the flooding in summer 2007 was caused by surface water.

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