Southern England gets five times more per head for flood defences
TORY spending on flood defences in the south of England will be five time more than in the north, shocking figures revealed yesterday.
The government says it is to spend £4.1 billion upgrading flood defences between now and 2022.
But analysis of the spending reveals that spending per head of population will be £167 in the south-east, almost double the £92 being spent in Yorkshire and the Humber, one of the areas badly hit by flooding this winter.
Some £75 per person will be spent in the east Midlands, £57 in the south-west, £40 in eastern England, £33 in the north-east and £30 in the north-west —including Cumbria, which was badly hit on December 26.
A spokeswoman for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said the per-person figures were “misleading” because they did not take into account projects whose benefits would cross regional boundaries, proposed schemes that were still being assessed and spending on maintenance.
But Labour shadow environment minister Alex Cunningham said: “These figures will be of real concern to communities who feel forgotten by the government, particularly those who have suffered several flooding incidents in recent years.
”The Calder Valley in West Yorkshire suffered some of the worst devastation on December 26. A string of communities through which the River Calder passes were hit — Walsden, Todmorden, Hebden Bridge, Mytholmroyd and Luddendenfoot among them.
Labour councillor Dave Young, a member of Calder-dale District Council and resident in Hebden Bridge, said: “The government says it is to spend £35 million on flood defences in the Calder Valley.
“That is the sum we asked for after the 2012 floods. The Environment Agency and Calderdale Council sat down after the 2012 floods and drew up a shopping list of what needed to be done. We needed £35m, and we got £2m.
“If we had got the £35m after the 2012 floods, maybe the floods would not have been so bad this time.”