Thousands of businesses and homes in Burton are set to be given better protection from flooding after the government announced it is to spend £17 million to improve flood defences on the River Trent. The Environment Secretary Andrea Leadsom has revealed that the town, which was devastated by floods in November 2000, is to receive the multi-million pound boost over the next five years.
In total £17 million will be spent and the government hope this will go some way to protecting 4,000 of the most vulnerable homes and businesses in the town. The scheme will improve Burton’s current flood defences which cost around £8 million back in 2007, and were nearly breached later that year.
Burton MP Andrew Griffiths hailed the decision, he said: “This is fantastic news and is an early Christmas present for all the homes and businesses affected by flooding. “There is nothing worse than having your home, possession and memory destroyed by disgusting flood water. “I have been lobbying the government for years and this is the best news I have had for some time.”
It is not yet known which parts of the river bank will be worked on but it is believed to be the flood defences on the Washlands. It will enhance the 9km of existing flood defences already protecting more than 7,000 homes and businesses in the town. The £17 million adds to the £20 million that Staffordshire is to receive from the government to help protect towns and cities across the county from flooding.
Environment Secretary Andrea Leadsom said: “This £17m funding is a great boost for Burton-upon-Trent, better protecting over 4,000 homes and businesses. Flooding can be devastating and our absolute priority is protecting homes, families and businesses. That is why, with this new investment, we will be investing almost £40m across Staffordshire.”
This funding is on top of the £2.5bn the Government is spending on flood defences to better protect 300,000 homes across the country by 2021 – exceeding the government’s commitment to build 1,500 flood defence schemes and representing a real terms increase in capital investment that is up from £1.7bn in the last Parliament and £1.5bn 2005-2010.
Sir James Bevan, Chief Executive of the Environment Agency, said: “It’s the Environment Agency’s priority to do everything we can to protect people from flooding. This additional funding will allow us to build on that vital work by upgrading Burton-upon-Trent’s flood defences.”
(Story credited to Mr Andrew Musgrove of the Burton Mail)