Last updated – 27 November 2020

About this tool

The Environment Agency (EA) estimates that 5.2 million homes and businesses in England are at risk of flooding and that around 700 properties are vulnerable to coastal erosion over the next 20 years.

The Met Office’s UK climate projections show more extreme weather events and sea level rise resulting from climate change. This, when combined with increased housing development, will heighten flooding and coastal erosion risks. Government set a target for EA to provide better protection for 300,000 homes through its investment from 2015 to 2021. This program has provided £2.6 billion of funding to 728 schemes, which by the end of April 2020 had better protected 242,000 homes.

Use this tool to explore:

  • Capital expenditure on the construction of new or improved flood defences split by local authority or region
  • The number of properties at risk of flooding from rivers or sea, taking account of local flood defences
  • The number of homes better protected from flood risk by government’s investment programme
  • The average condition of flood defences by local authority or region

This interactive data visualisation supports the National Audit Office report on Managing flood risk which was published in November 2020.

The tool uses public data as well as data provided to us by the Environment Agency that was current as of October 2020.

More information about the datasets used within the tool can be found in the ‘More information’ tab.

Instructions: how to use this tool

  • start by selecting which dataset you would like to view
  • contextual information about each dataset and any caveats are available on the more information tab of the tool
  • once a dataset is selected a map will appear in the panel to the right
  • to see the figures for a particular area on the map, click on one and a popup will appear
  • further options for the chosen dataset can be selected in the panel on the left, this will include which geography to use and what year to show, amongst others. See the more information tab if you want to know more about what the different options mean
  • to change the scaling of colours on the map scroll to the bottom of the left hand panel to the map style options box. Hover over each option here to get more information about how it will affect the map
  • the data can be viewed in tabular and graphical formats within the ‘Data table’ tab
  • on this tab click the dataset you would like to view and it will be shown in a table on the right
  • to see a graph for a specific area select it in the table. The ‘Choose how to draw graph’ option in the left hand panel will control how this behaves, hover over the option for more information


Accessibility note

This tool uses third party software to present data in the form of interactive maps and graphics. The navigation is optimised for mouse use but supports keyboard functionality.

If you cannot access the data in this format (perhaps because it is not accessible to your assistive technology), we have provided the underlying data as comma separated files (csv) as an alternative to allow you to perform your own data analysis:

Download visualisation raw data

If you need additional help, you can phone the NAO Enquiries Point on +44(0)2077987264. Alternatively, you can email general enquiries to or use our online contact form.

If you’re having trouble viewing the visualisation on a mobile device, or need a larger view, here is a direct link to the full screen visualisation.

More information

Frequently Asked Questions

Where do these data come from?

The data underlying this tool has been obtained primarily from the Environment Agency, this included:

  • Capital spend on flood defences from 2015-16 to 2020-21, broken down by region and local authority
  • The number of homes better protected by capital projects from 2015-16 to 2019-20, broken down by region and local authority
  • The location of completed capital projects and the number of homes they better protected
  • The number of properties at flood risk in 2016, 2018 and 2020, broken down by constituency and local authority
  • The location, condition and responsible body of flood defences

A copy of the data underlying this tool is available in csv format to download.

Why has the NAO published these data?

We have made this data available as a supporting output to our report on Managing flood risk. The visualisation allows users to access both regional and local data on capital spend for flood risk management along with key metrics used by government to measure its progress.

Why do the data cover only England?

Managing flood risk is a devolved matter in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. The National Audit Office report covers the Environment Agency’s approach to managing flood risk, following policy set by the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs. This covers England only.

Where can I get more information?

To see more detailed information about flood risk at a specific location visit Check your long term flood risk. To see more background information about managing flood risk see these resources published by the Local Government Association.

My question is not answered here, where can I get more information?

Phone the NAO Enquiries point +44 (0)20 7798 7264.

Alternatively, you can email general enquiries to or use our online contact form.