Total Government funding for 2005-06 will be UK£570M (US$1B). From this, the sum allocated to the traditional Defra improvement programme is UK£169M (US$313M) which is now running at more than double its 1997 level of UK£82M (US$152M). This is allocated across all flood and coastal defence operating authorities according to Defra’s priority scoring system. Major projects likely to be funded (subject to approval) include:

• Environment Agency, Shoreham & Lancing Sea Defences, Sussex

• Environment Agency, River Calder & Walsden Water, Todmorden, West Yorkshire

• Environment Agency, London Tidal Defences

• Environment Agency, Cockshaw Burn, Hexham, Northumbria

• Wyre Borough Council, Cleveleys Apron Improvements

* Middle Level Commissioners (IDB), Wiggenhall St Germans, Cambridgeshire

From the overall budget of UK£570M (US$1B), the Environment Agency will receive UK£443M (US$822M), with local authorities and internal drainage boards sharing UK£54M (US$100M) between them. Overall, Government funding for 2005-06 is UK£90M (US$167M) more than in 2004-05. This high level of funding will be maintained during the three years of the Spending Review 2004 period to 2007-08. Efficiency savings by the Environment Agency will help to maintain the real-terms value of the investment.

The grant will fund almost all the Environment Agency’s flood management activities, including improvement projects, maintenance and operations, flood forecasting and warning and other important initiatives such as flood risk mapping, catchment flood management plans and the National Flood and Coastal Defence Database. It will also support local authority and internal drainage board improvement projects.

‘These large sums demonstrate clearly the Government’s commitment to invest to manage flood and coastal erosion risk and the extra threat from rising sea levels,’ said Morley. ‘Operating authorities will invest this money to achieve the Government’s objectives. Defra’s target is to reduce risk to people and assets – including for some 80,000 households nationally between April 2003 and March 2006. Achieving this will be challenging but operating authorities are on track to do so.’