Paul Cobbing: The National Flood Forum is a UK charity supporting and representing flood risk individuals and communities. We support people to prepare for flooding, help people to recover their lives after flooding, and work to put flood risk communities at the centre of policy making. The Environment Agency’s long term investment scenarios show that the number of homes at very high risk will remain largely unchanged over the next 25 years, despite significant capital investment. Many others will become at risk for a variety of reasons, including changing weather patterns and suburbanisation. Public sector cuts make the task even more challenging. So, to collectively reduce flood risk in the future, as well as mitigate its impacts, we will need to work in new ways to deliver results.
So what does this mean for central government?
In a recent NFF survey, people wanted flooding to be a priority for the whole of the government, not just Defra. the full list of changes people proposed can be seen at http://www.nationalfloodforum.org.uk/manifesto/ but some examples include:
- The minimum budget requirements proposed by the Committee on Climate Change Adaptation Sub-Committee Progress Report 2014 should be implemented on a continuous basis
- Funding for maintenance of flood assets, which has fallen significantly, should be improved
- A review of how the planning system actually operates should be undertaken; people’s experience is that it doesn’t deliver national flood policy
- Flood plans should be made for organisations in high flood risk areas, such as businesses, care homes and schools. Flooding is a bigger risk than fire for many; we expect them to have fire certificates and practice evacuation
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