The UK Environment Agency has announced an extra £2.5M (US$4.4M) to reduce the risk of flooding in the southwest of the country.
The South West Regional Flood Defence Committee bid for additional money and received a total of £19M (US$33.3M) from central government to invest in the region. This represents an increase of 15% from 2005-2006 and 56% from 2004-2005.
The money will ensure that existing flood defence schemes are properly maintained and improved. Money will also be spent on building new flood defence schemes at St Ives and Truro in Cornwall, Shaldon in South Devon, and Sutton Harbour in Plymouth.
The committee also has the power to raise a local levy on county and unitary authorities that is used to fund local priorities that are not funded nationally. For 2006-2007 this levy amounts to £450,000 (US$790,000) and will be used to fund schemes at Bampton and Coombe Martin in Devon and to investigate potential options at Polperro and Looe in Cornwall.
The flood defence committee, which meets today in Exeter, is made up of representatives from the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), the Environment Agency, Devon and Cornwall County Councils, Torbay Council and Plymouth City Council.