Flood alleviation schemes should be the priority for any infrastructure spending to be announced in the Autumn Statement later this year, according to Morgan Tucker.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, announced last week that he will present his first Autumn Statement to Parliament on Wednesday, November 23.
Now the independent engineering consultancy is responding to speculation that Hammond will use increased infrastructure investment to kick-start both the construction sector and, in turn, the UK economy.
“If the Chancellor of the Exchequer is considering an infrastructure-led fiscal stimulus then flood alleviation should be a priority.”
Estimates suggest that more than five million homes in England – one in six properties – are at risk of flooding. What’s more according to meteorological records, six of the seven wettest years have occurred since the year 2000 .
The impacts of flooding and coastal changes in the UK are already significant and expected to increase, but priority schemes, such as the £190 million flood alleviation scheme in Leeds, have been deemed ‘too expensive’ in the past.
“What is becoming clear is that the cost to the UK economy of flood damage, both in terms of the effect on homeowners and business, far outweighs the infrastructure costs. Allied to this is the fact that the threat of flooding, unless action is taken is only going to get worse,” says Ingram.
“The Leeds flood protection scheme is a case in point. The idea was to defend 12 miles of homes and businesses close to the River Aire but the original £190 million scheme was cancelled in favour of a more limited option. This is exactly the sort of scheme which could be easily restored back to its original plan if the funding is made available.”