CLA warns against MPs’ recommendation for new national flooding authority

The CLA is warning that MPs’ proposal to create a new national flooding authority is a backward step to improving how rural land is used to help prevent flooding.

The CLA, which represents 32,000 landowners, farmers and rural businesses in England and Wales, makes this warning in response to the Future flood prevention report published on 2 November by the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee.

CLA President Ross Murray, who gave evidence in front of the Committee during its inquiry into flood management, said: “We welcome the leadership MPs have shown in pressing Government to move further and faster in implementing a new approach to preventing flooding. The proposal for Regional Flood and Coastal Boards is an important recommendation, and we will press for these boards to be aligned to river catchments so that their work can best support natural flood management on rural land.

“However, we believe that creating a new authority to take over national flood risk management responsibilities from the Environment Agency would be a backwards step. It would risk a confused and disjointed approach at a time when people and businesses affected by flooding in both towns and countryside desperately need more investment. Improving how flood prevention is managed should instead focus on ensuring a more integrated governance to deliver flood prevention schemes, and makes the best use of funding.

“A single body at the national level is much better suited to balancing the need for flood prevention measures with the many other demands on rural land.

“There are a number of important recommendations in the EFRA Committee’s report that we fully support including incorporating flood risk management into the new domestic food, farming and environmental policy, required to succeed and better the CAP. Also the suggestion of a grant scheme to help small businesses undertake flood resilience measures.”

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