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Managing flood and coastal erosion risks

The Environment Agency 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. Over two thirds of properties in England are served by infrastructure sites and networks located in (or dependent on others in) areas at risk of flooding. More extreme weather events and sea level rise resulting from climate change, and increased housing development will heighten flooding and coastal erosion risks.

In March 2020, the government announced a significant increase in the capital investment in flood and coastal erosion defences to £5.2 billion for the period 2021-27. In July 2020, Defra set out the government’s policy on flood and coastal erosion risk management in a policy statement that was published alongside the Environment Agency’s National Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management Strategy for England.

This report examines whether the government’s approach to managing the risks of flooding and coastal erosion are achieving value for money. It will look at whether:

  • the current risk management arrangements in place provide strong and effective oversight, challenge and direction;
  • the government is expected to achieve its intended objectives from its £2.6bn funding over the period 2015-21; and
  • the government has a credible plan to protect the country from flooding and coastal erosion in the future.