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£120m new funding for flood defence
The Government has announced £120 million of new funding for flood defences, as families in parts of the country face the aftermath of more flooding.
Ministers said £60 million would be targeted at areas where improving defences against flooding could unlock investment and growth in the area, and the rest would go to speed up delivery of up to 50 schemes already in the pipeline.
The Government estimates the money, which will be delivered between next year and 2015, will improve flood protection for up to 60,000 homes and provide £1 billion in economic benefits.
Potential projects which could benefit from the funding targeted at unlocking economic benefits include Leeds, where the riverside area is regularly threatened by floods and defences could protect 250 businesses, employing more than 100,000 people, and more than 3,100 homes.
The Government said the money was in addition to the £2 billion being spent on flooding and coastal erosion this spending period up to 2015, more than £1 billion of which is for capital projects such as flood defences.
But ministers have faced criticism that they have cut flood defence spending at a time when their own advisers say hundreds of millions of pounds more cash is needed to help the UK cope with greater risk of flooding as the climate changes.
This summer, Government climate advisers said flood defence spending is 12% below levels in the last spending review period, with a gap opening up of £860 million between money pledged for 2011-15 and what is needed to maintain protection.
In recent days, hundreds of homes and businesses have been flooded in the latest in a series of floods to hit parts of the UK this year.
Ahead of a visit to see flood defences, Prime Minister David Cameron said: "Flooding can have a devastating effect on communities. This week I met families and members of the Environment Agency and emergency services who have been incredibly brave and steadfast in testing times.
"I have also seen how flood defences can help protect people and property from being ravaged by flood water so I am pleased that this additional £120 million will help fast-track defences for up to 60,000 more homes and unlock up to £1 billion of economic benefits."