Thousands more homes and businesses are to be better protected from flooding and coastal erosion, as part of plans published by the government outlining a record £5.2 billion of investment over the next six years.

More than £860 million will be spent in 2021-22 boosting design and construction of more than 1,000 schemes across England as part of the Environment Agency’s annual capital programme.

It is all part of the Flood and Coastal Erosion Investment Plan, published today (Thursday, July 29), which sets out how new flood and coastal schemes will better protect 336,000 properties by 2027, helping to avoid £32 billion in wider economic damages and reducing the national flood risk by up to 11%.

The funding will be accompanied by a consultation in the autumn, where the government will look at how to better protect frequently flooded communities, following a call for evidence earlier this year.

It will consider how to strengthen the assessment of local circumstances, such as where areas have flooded on multiple occasions, when allocating funding during the six-year plan.

Planning regulations

The government has said that they will bring in tighter guidance for planning authorities as part of a package of actions to better protect and prepare communities for flooding.

Householders will benefit from changes to the Flood Re Scheme that will allow insurers to pay an additional amount for the installation of property flood resilience measures after a flood - like air brick covers, flood doors and flood resistant plasterboard.

Measures to tackle the risks from surface water flooding are also included in the plans.

Environment Secretary George Eustice said:

"The tragic recent events in Germany and Belgium serve as a sobering reminder of how devastating flooding can be.

We are standing by communities and will bolster defences against flooding across England with many thousands more properties better protected by 2027.

"It’s important we take action right across the system.

"Our comprehensive plan will achieve this by tightening planning procedures, helping more people access insurance and making homes more resilient to the effects of flooding.

"This year will see an extra £250 million spent on flood and coastal defences in 2021/22 compared with last year - the highest ever annual investment."

It includes an extra £40 million compared with last year for schemes in Yorkshire and the Humber, a region that has suffered from repeated flooding in recent years, and an extra £53 million for the northwest, the region which was hit hardest by Storm Christoph this winter.