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Friday, 03 July 2015

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Ulverston and Lyth Valley will benefit from a £2.13m investment to protect communities from flooding

ULVERSTON and Lyth Valley will benefit from a £2.13m investment to protect communities from flooding.

The news comes as the Government confirmed that an extra £130m will be made available nationally to protect communities at risk of flooding.

Although the most severe incidents of flooding this winter have been in the south west, Cumbria County Council's Cabinet member responsible for flood protection is reminding ministers that many communities in Cumbria remain at risk of flooding and the county has a strong case for a share of future investment.

Alongside the announcement of extra investment for regions to bid for, the Environment Agency has now confirmed the outcome of the previous bidding round for 2014/15. The Government has announced that five schemes of the 21 proposed new schemes in the county have been successful in securing Flood Defence Grant in Aid this year.

The county council, as the Lead Local Flood Authority, had put forward 10 proposed surface water management schemes for FDGiA funding, eight of them for flood defences and two for property protection. None have been successful this time round. The Environment Agency, which is responsible for main river, reservoir and tidal defences, put forward 11 schemes in the county to be considered for FDGiA funding, with five receiving funding this year.

Investment totalling £2.13m will be spent on Skirting Beck, Ulverston, Lyth Valley, Gategill Beck at Threlkeld. There will also be ongoing flood defence work in Barepot, Workington and restoration work on the rivers Kent, Derwent and Eden.

Cumbria has also been successful in securing better than expected funding for a number of other projects through the Environment Agency's Regional Flood and Coastal Committee's separate Local Levy scheme. Local Levy funding is determined by the number of council tax paying properties in Band D in Cumbria. Cumbrian households contributed £298,000 through the Local Levy, and the Environment Agency has confirmed that schemes totalling £1.03m will go ahead in 2014/15.

Councillor Keith Little, Cumbria County Council’s Cabinet member responsible for flood protection, said:

“We work very well in partnership with the Environment Agency at both a local and regional level. My thoughts go out to all those communities in the south west currently dealing with the awful hardship that flooding brings. While the Government's efforts are quite rightly focused on helping people there right now, there are still communities in Cumbria who would be at risk if the weather event happened to be over this county next time - so Cumbria's case still needs to be considered.

"It’s disappointing that schemes that we thought would have a good chance of securing funding this year will have to be deferred for at least another year, although we appreciate that Cumbria has benefitted from £55m of investment in flood defences over the last 10 years.

“The Environment Agency's commitment to continue funding ongoing projects near Blackpool and the legacy of funding a number of other North West flood protection projects have effectively bumped us down the league table and the cash for North West projects has been allocated elsewhere.

“Nevertheless, the fact that our schemes scored highly enough to have been successful in previous, less competitive, funding rounds gives me some hope that they will win through next year. In the meantime, we will be using the positive news of the generous Local Levy funding to deliver some important new flood protection measures this year.

“This is a partnership effort with one key objective – to bring the maximum benefits in terms of protecting people and properties from the risk of flooding.”

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