George Monbiot’s recent Guardian article highlighted the kind of defences that we know would work – but where is the will to see them created?
George Osborne has been accused of jeopardising Britain’s crumbling flood defences over the past five years by prioritising cuts to the deficit, and has also been warned that infrastructure spending may need to rise sharply to adapt to climate change.
The warnings from leading academics came as parts of the UK were hit by Storm Frank on Wednesday, with hundreds of homes evacuated and thousands of people left without power.
Professor Simon Wren-Lewis, of Oxford University, who has analysed data on recent flood spending, said there was little sign that the government had changed course to take into account the growing threat of extreme weather.
“What you would really expect is to see spending at a much higher level,” he said. “It doesn’t seem like the same kind of reaction which we know has happened to the threat of terrorism, where we know spending levels have increased by a large magnitude.”
David Cameron has promised to invest £400m a year on shoring up flood defences over the next six years; but official data shows spending was cut sharply at the start of the last parliament, from £360m in 2010-11, to less than £270m in 2012-13.
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