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Environment Agency data shows that 2.4 million properties in England are at risk of flooding from rivers and the sea; about 3 million properties are at risk from surface water flooding; and about 600,000 properties are threatened by both. During winter 2013-14, a large tidal surge, high tides and a spate of severe storms led to widespread flooding across the country. According to BBC reports, more than 5,000 businesses and homes were flooded and thousands of peoples were evacuated from their homes.[1]

A recent Report to Parliament from the Committee on Climate Change on Progress in preparing for climate change (30 June 2015) warns that even in the best case scenario, with sustained increases in spending at optimal levels over many years, 45,000 more homes and other properties are expected to fall in to the highest flood risk category by the 2060s.

In 2013, the Government committed £2.3 billion of future capital funding for a six-year investment programme up to 2021. Defra subsequently published a detailed investment plan in December 2014 setting out the schemes where this money will be invested. There are currently over 1500 schemes identified and the Secretary of State has announced that this funding will protect a further 300,000 properties, reduce flood risk by 5 per cent and save the economy £2.7 billion by 2021.[2] Partnership funding from local communities and the private sector is essential to the delivery of the programme. In June 2015, the Secretary of State confirmed in a PQ that £250 million (more than 40% of the overall external contributions target) had already been raised.

Changes to planning policy and guidance came into effect in England on 6 April 2015 to reflect a new approach to implementing and maintaining sustainable drainage systems (SuDS). These make clear the expectation that SuDS will be provided in new developments of more than 10 residential houses (or equivalent non-residential/mixed developments). More information is provided in the Debate Pack briefing.

Draft regulations which will put in place a new household flood insurance scheme (known as Flood Re) were laid before Parliament on 1 July 2015. The new flood insurance scheme is expected to be in place and available to householders by April 2016. More detailed information on flood insurance can be found in the Library Briefing Paper on on Flood insurance for households 

[1] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-26170904

[2] Defra press release, 2 December 2014

UPDATE: the debate on Coastal flood risk took place on 7 July 2015 and the transcript can now be read in full.


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