The Environment Agency has updated information on 3 innovative programmes to improve resilience to flooding and coastal change.

  • The flood and coastal resilience innovation programme has allocated £150 million to 25 local areas.
  • The coastal transition accelerator programme will see £36 million will be invested to adapt to the effects of climate change on the coast.
  • The adaptation pathways programme includes £8 million was allocated to develop adaptation pathway plans in 4 key locations of national significance.

But, according to the Guardian, a £50m scheme to protect thousands of homes from flooding by the autumn has been pulled by the Environment Agency.

Businesses that put together bids for the scheme to provide homes in England with flood defences including flood doors, non-return valves and waterproof floors, say they have spent tens of thousands preparing their bids.

But on Tuesday the EA said the tender process was being pulled. In an email to companies, the EA said: “Following careful consideration the Environment Agency has decided to discontinue the current procurement of a new property flood resilience (PFR) framework that was commenced earlier this year.

“We have written directly to the suppliers who have submitted bids to advise them of this decision and the grounds for this decision.”

The EA said they were pulling the scheme because they had not received enough competent tenders to provide value for money. But Simon Crowther, who runs one of the companies that bid for the work, said the EA had made the process so complicated and costly it had put people off bidding.

Crowther, a civil engineer and chartered water and environmental manager, said his company had spent tens of thousands of pounds over the past six weeks preparing its bid. He said the failure of the agency would impact on climate emergency resilience, and leave an increased number of communities exposed to flooding.

“I feel I have to speak out about this. The actions of the Environment Agency will delay the protection of thousands of homes. Flood victims do not have a voice and they will not know that these protections were coming or that they are now being delayed because of the actions of the EA. So I feel I need to raise awareness about this failure.”

Crowther, whose firm bid to carry out surveys of homes in the north-east, the Midlands, London and Kent as part of the scheme, said the timetable provided to the company showed the protections for homes could have been in place by the autumn. “That will now all be delayed,” he said.

Mary Dhonau OBE, who was awarded an OBE for work on reducing flood risk, said the companies bidding for the work were all small businesses who had spent thousands preparing their bids.

She said: “I know all those who tendered were proud with the high standard of the tenders they submitted. The Environment Agency has now discontinued the procurement process and intend to invite tenders for a new procurement shortly.

“The property flood resilience industry is expected to go through the whole process again. I have explained the state of the marketplace. Over the last few days, I’ve talked to quite a few companies. One of them has held a crisis meeting and wonder if it’s worth staying in the PFR industry, another isn’t going to bother again and is changing direction. All of the companies are reeling with shock and disbelief.”

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