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New research shows UK flood defence plans favour the rich

SWM has been working closely with Joseph Rowntree Foundation and Climate UK over the years on developing the Climate Just tool, and more recently working with the Environment Agency on pilot schemes to help get businesses to contribute to local flood defence schemes which are now required as ‘partnership’ funding by the UK government. Recent independent research by JRF has shown that the current national guidance for investment appears to favour better-off areas, and those more likely to be able to provide ‘partnership’ funding for local flood defence. The report shows there is no particular alignment between planned expenditure for 2015-21 and the extent of flood disadvantage in a local authority.  It found:

  • 249 most flood disadvantaged neighbourhoods across 104 of the 326 local authority districts and unitaries in England;
  • Only 100 of the 1,493 schemes in the investment pipeline were in these most flood disadvantaged neighbourhoods;
  • The average investment per local authority per household protected was £6,610, but areas with fewer flood disadvantaged neighbourhoods were in some cases due to receive substantially higher spending than those with a greater number;
  • Almost half (47.8%) or £2bn of total planned investment is for local authorities with no neighbourhoods at significant flood disadvantage (i.e. none of their neighbourhoods have both high exposure and high social vulnerability).
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