Essential spending on flood defences is being cut back severely by the Coalition Government. Dr Hazel Dawe, Chair of Kent Green Party, comments:
“The frequency of flooding has increased in the UK in recent years. We have all seen large areas of Kent flooded with damage to homes, businesses and agricultural losses. The Government is cutting flood defence spending despite warnings from the Met Office about the risk of more flooding in future years(1). Flood-prone areas of Kent will continue to be exposed to risk. Long-term coastal protection spending is not even being considered.
“The Environment Agency asked the last Government for £1 billion a year to fight flooding. They gave only £800 million a year. Since a quarter of homes in the UK are at risk of flooding, cutting spending to between £520 and £540 million a year is a cut too far(2).
“Alternative cuts are possible to allow flood defence spending to be preserved. These could include freezing the roads programme and reducing overseas defence commitments. And a fairer taxation system is also possible(3).
“But with climate change adding to extreme weather events as there is more moisture in the atmosphere, and the prospect of rising sea levels, we need to take flood and coastal protection much more seriously.”
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FURTHER INFORMATION: Dr Hazel Dawe, Chair, KENT GREEN PARTY, on 079444 71083 or 01732 355185. Contact address as above. Published by Kent Green Party and promoted by H.Dawe, both at 27, Audley Avenue, Tonbridge, Kent TN9 1XF.
2. BBC News 24, 29th October 2010.
3. Meaning – for example - higher council tax bands, a 50p rate of tax at £100,000 income, removing the cap on national insurance payments, higher fuel duties to help conserve oil and reduce air pollution, and higher taxes on cigarettes, and alcohol.