The report covers flood risk management in England. It evaluates whether the government’s approach to managing the risks of flooding and coastal erosion is achieving value for money in three parts:
- Part one covers whether the current risk management arrangements provide strong and effective oversight, challenge and direction.
- Part two looks at what government has achieved in the period 2015–2021 and the extent to which it has used available funds to reduce flood and coastal erosion risks and measure progress.
- Part three examines government’s preparedness to manage and reduce flood risk when a new expanded investment programme begins in 2021.
The report concludes that between 2015 and 2021 the government will have invested £2.6 billion in flood defences. As the end of the current investment period approaches, the government does not have a comprehensive measure to demonstrate whether the overall level of flood risk in England is lower now than it was at the start of the programme. Over the next six-year period starting in April 2021, the government’s capital investment is set to increase substantially to £5.6 billion, with the aim of providing better protection for 336,000 properties and the expectation that the programme will reduce overall flood risk by up to 11%. While the new policy statement and Environment Agency (EA) strategy are an important step forward, with the new investment period about to begin, Defra has yet to provide full details of what it aims to achieve from the programme, how the programme will be managed and what indicators it will use to measure progress. Unless it develops these, alongside a more robust measure of its progress in reducing flood risk, Defra will not be able to demonstrate convincingly to Parliament that future investment is achieving value for money.