The Government has already spent £150m in Cumbria through repairs to infrastructure, direct payments to flooded households and business, removing debris and gravel and funding to match the tremendous generosity shown in charity appeals.
December 2015's floods were the worst in modern times in the county, despite massive Government expenditure on flood prevention schemes following 2005 and 2009 mass flooding.
This plan show boasts:
- Better protecting at least 4,300 Cumbrian homes from flooding using up to £72 million of government funding – this is £4m more than previously announced.
- Restoring 350 hectares of peatland to hold water upstream for longer at several sites around the Eden, Derwent and Kent/Leven catchments.
- Making changes to the way United Utilities operates – to make sure local reservoirs are better managed so they hold more water during flood events.
- Working with four small communities to agree how the way the land managed above the villages can be changed to reduce risk to residents, whilst also maintaining benefits for farmers and landowners.
- Making sure that all future planning permission granted in Cumbria takes account of learnings from Storm Desmond.
- Considering how we can reduce flood risk along the three catchments most severely impacted by Storm Desmond – the Eden, Derwent and Kent and Leven. Measures will include tree planting and restoring river bends as well as more traditional engineering solutions such as flood walls in towns.
Floods Minister Rory Stewart said: "This plan is what Cumbria needs to help protect its businesses, people and infrastructure from flooding – now and over the longer term. This is largely thanks to the incredible spirit of the Cumbrian people, with local groups, local authorities, the Environment Agency and landowners all working with us to find the best answers for every area.
"The government has committed up to £72 million to protect Cumbria from flooding and this plan uses local expertise to identify where that money will be best spent to benefit communities, by re-examining river systems from source to sea.
Environment Agency Flood Risk Manager Andy Brown said: "This action plan represents a step change in the way we manage flood risk in Cumbria. It sees local communities at the heart of the process, working with organisations to reduce flood risk along the length of Cumbrian river catchments, from the Fells to the coast. The development of the long-term plan relies on continuing to work with the communities and farmers who live alongside these rivers and have experienced flooding at first hand. This is your opportunity to get involved and help make Cumbria more resilient to flooding."