£1 million flood defence competition launched nationwide


Environment Secretary Andrea Leadsom has announced a nationwide competition which will see flood defence projects from across Britain apply for a share of £1 million to aid in the protection of their local communities.

The competition, which is the first of its kind in the UK, is open to all flood solution strategies that utilise landscape features to store, drain or slow flood water.

Projects that incorporate ponds, banks, meanders, channels, and trees in their flood defence management plans already form an important part of the government’s flood prevention strategy. The money needed to fund the proposed projects will be on top of the £14m already committed to other schemes across the UK.

Andrea said: “I am delighted to offer more support for local communities looking to employ natural flood management measures to better protect their homes and businesses.

We now carefully look at flood risk across an entire catchment area from a river’s source to the sea – to make sure we have in place the best tailored mix of natural as well as concrete, engineered defences to better protect communities.”

Flood defence schemes that make the most of the physical features of the landscape have already proved successful. Many of these projects have also resulted in hundreds of trees and plants being planted, which has encouraged the return of indigenous wildlife.

The new natural flood management competition gives small-scale natural flood management projects greater opportunity to implement their plans and protect their local communities.

Environment Agency Chair, Emma Howard Boyd, said: “At places such as Leicester, Morpeth, and Medmerry, the Environment Agency has already shown that natural flood management can reduce flood risk alongside traditional flood defences and property resilience.

There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to natural flood management: it’s about using a range of measures, from creating ponds and woody dams to redirecting river channels, that work together to reduce flood risk. This competition is a great way to explore the different ways these approaches can benefit communities and the environment.”