Flooding and Coastal Erosion in England
CLA Flood and Coastal Erosion Policy
Flooding and coastal erosion are a crucial issue for thousands of blighted rural households and businesses. And most of the UK's best soils are less than five metres above the mean high water level. We lobby for this land to be protected to ensure food security. We press for spending and legislative change which is fair for rural areas.
Other CLA Flood and Coastal Defences articles
The CLA calls on the Government to:
For example, incentives are needed to reinstate wetland areas upstream of towns. These would hold water during heavy rain, reducing flooding and helping the environment. New washlands could reduce the effects of river flooding downstream.
But Defra’s flood plans are based on a worst-case scenario where sea levels rise by more than one metre. On this assumption many defences will be unsustainable and a policy of retreat should be adopted.
Our view is that until we can be more certain of the future, we should adopt a precautionary principle and retain and maintain existing defences.
We also believe that the alternative to hard defences is not abandonment. Much more could be done in the way of soft defences, beach re-charging and other techniques, to stabilise the coastline.
The CLA is trying to encourage Defra to look seriously at innovative new technology for flood defence from around the world.
Defra is giving more weight to environmental factors and less to economic and social factors in its management of flood and coastal-erosion risk.
It is moving from a policy of "hold the line" to "no active intervention" or "retreat" in many rural areas. Large urban areas will continue to be defended from flooding.
Present priorities for spending are largely based on the number of houses at risk and environmental considerations.
They take little account of lost land and lost ability to produce future food, of salt water on inland water used for drinking and irrigation, historic features and business and community assets. Yet once a coastline is lost, it is gone forever.
The way the limited pot of money for flood and sea defences is spent results in a poor deal for rural areas and isolated villages.
Total spending on flood and coastal risk management is currently (in 2010/11) £780 million per year. Figures from the Environment Agency show at least £1 billion a year is required. Only a small percentage is spent maintaining flood defences and keeping waterways flowing freely.
Where it is not feasible to defend the coast, we are fighting for compensation for those whose land, businesses or homes will be lost for the greater public benefit.
For examples of CLA responses on catchment flood and shorline management plans, see:
Example 1: Shoreline Management Plans
The CLA's thoughts on imaginative responses to flooding, together with members’ views of the causes and effects of the floods, can be read in our response to the Government’s review of the 2007 floods.
The CLA is working with the National Farmers' Union and the Farming & Wildlife Advisory Group on a project (funded by Defra’s innovation fund) to explore economic alternatives for coastal landowners.
The project is being undertaken on the Essex coast but will have implications for all areas of coast that will cease to be maintained by the Government. Details of this project can be viewed on it: www.managingcoastalchange.co.uk.
CLA backs Efra call for the Government to support flood-risk property owners
CLA Conference in Norfolk, (March 2004)
Funding for floods discriminates against rural areas, says CLA
CLA Committee Chairman tackles Lord Smith on flooding
The Pitt Review - Learning Lessons from the 2007 Floods
Outcome Measures and prioritisation approaches for Flood & Coastal Erosion Risk Management
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Lead adviser on European and national environmental issues including water quality (Water Framework Directive, Catchment Sensitive Farming, Nitrates Directive), water resources, fluvial and coastal defence, soil resource, climate change and fisheries.
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