Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more


  • Comment
New government proposals for tackling the risk of flooding and coastal erosion are published today by environment m...
New government proposals for tackling the risk of flooding and coastal erosion are published today by environment minister Elliot Morley, in the form of a consultation paper 'Making Space For Water'. The proposals look forward 20 years.

The new strategy responds to the Foresight programme's recent predictions that over the next 100 years the frequency and severity of flooding will increase, because of climate change and other pressures. It will replace the current strategy for flood and coastal defence, which is now 11 years old.

In the consultation paper ideas on what might be done to tackle all types of flooding - coastal, river, groundwater, sewers and urban and road drainage problems - and across all areas of government policy are brought together for the first time ever.

Solutions mooted in the paper range from the familiar (maintaining and/or improving sea and river walls), to more recent departures in approach that 'make space for water' (eg by creating saltmarsh buffer zones in coastal areas and wetlands in river catchments, where appropriate), to the new and inventive (that some minor, non-strategic roads be used as flood channels in an extreme event, using raised kerbstones to contain the water).

Mr Morley said:

'Climate change means we may well see more and worse flooding in the future. We must factor in and plan for this across the board, working closely with the insurance industry and other interested parties, so that the adverse consequences for people and for business are minimised.'

Government funding of the flood defence programme in England and Wales currently stands at a record£478m and is set to rise to£564m per year for the period 2005-2008.

The consultation closes on 1 November 2004. Subject to the outcome of the consultation exercise, the government hopes to publish a final strategy, containing an action plan and commitments to regular reviews, in early 2005.


The consultation document deals with England only.

Copies of the consultation documents, including a summary leaflet and background papers are available here.

Further information on the strategy development exercise is available via

Defra's Flood Management web pages are indexed at:

A summary of Foresight's Future Flooding report is available at:


  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions.

Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.