Government pledges £15m for natural flood management

Another breakthrough for rewilding as Andrea Leadsom promises to ‘slow the flow’ with funding for projects that work with the natural environment

Another breakthrough for rewilding as Andrea Leadsom promises to ‘slow the flow’ with funding for projects that work with the natural environment
Flood meadows on the Holnicote Estate, Somerset. Pic: Adrian Sherratt

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The government has promised an extra £15 million to fund rewilding projects that reduce flood risk. The news follows a year-long campaign by Rewilding Britain and Friends of the Earth.

The announcement was made in a House of Commons meeting on 24 November.

Environment secretary Andrea Leadsom was asked about initiatives that went beyond “concrete, steel and earthworks” to protect “over five million homes at flood risk in Britain”.

Mrs Leadsom then confirmed that £15m had been pledged for projects focused on “natural flood management, slowing the flow and looking at ways to work with the contours of our environment”.

We recently published a report demonstrating the evidence to support investment in natural flood risk management, and earlier this week highlighted that the government had failed to deliver on repeated pledges to fund natural flood management, like planting trees to reduce flood risk.

‘Time to rethink’

Helen Meech, director of Rewilding Britain, said, “With one in six properties in the UK currently at risk of flooding, a ratio that will only increase as our climate changes over coming decades, it is time to rethink our approach to managing flood risk.

“There is now significant evidence to show that rewilding can substantially reduce flood risk downstream, protecting communities at a fraction of the cost of traditional flood defences, while also delivering improved water quality and space for nature to thrive.

“We are therefore delighted by the announcement of additional funding. As government considers new approaches to management of Britain’s natural environment post-Brexit, it’s time we invested in making space for water, for the benefit of both people and wildlife.”

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