Many of Britain’s flood defences are being abandoned or maintained to minimal levels because of government cuts that could leave almost twice as many households at “significant risk” within 20 years, according to a leaked document submitted to ministers.
The paper, written by the body representing all major organisations responsible for flood defences, was presented to ministers on 30 November last year – days before Cumbria was hit by the heaviest rainfall recorded in 24 hours in Britain.
It was then discussed by floods minister Rory Stewart and Oliver Letwin, the cabinet office minister leading the government’s flooding review.
The leaked document says: “We have had the five wettest years since 2000. TheEnvironment Agency’s funding for maintaining flood assets has fallen by 14%. Downward adjustments have also been made to intended revenue spending commitments.”