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More than 300,000 homes are better protected from the effects of climate change compared with 2015, the Environment Agency has announced today (Wednesday 24 March).

Exceeding its target in delivering the government’s £2.6 billion investment in flood and coastal defence schemes since 2015, the Environment Agency and partners have completed more than 700 projects to better protect more than 300,000 homes, nearly 600,000 acres of agricultural land, thousands of businesses and major pieces of infrastructure.

The milestone was reached with the completion of the Hull: Humber Frontages scheme, a £42 million project which will better protect the city of Hull from the devastation of tidal surges which caused flooding to hundreds of properties in 2013.

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The delivery of the nation’s new defences, which has continued through lockdown with Covid-secure working arrangements, will not only help to save the economy more than £28 billion in avoided damages over the lifetime of defence assets, but also provide reassurance and peace of mind for communities and encourage economic growth.

The successful delivery of the programme comes ahead of the start of the record £5.2 billion investment in 2,000 new flood and coastal defences between 2021 and 2027.

Emma Howard Boyd, Chair of the Environment Agency, said:

“The success of this programme is measured in numbers – 700 projects, 300,000 homes, nearly 600,000 acres of agricultural land, thousands of businesses and major pieces of infrastructure, on time and within budget. But the sense of security these protections bring to people, and the benefits to nature, can’t easily be demonstrated on a spreadsheet.”

“With the COP26 climate talks coming to Glasgow this year, this programme is a fantastic example of adaptation in action, but there’s a lot more to do.”

Sir James Bevan, Chief Executive of the Environment Agency, said:

“I pay tribute to our skilled teams and our partners who have worked so hard to achieve this – it’s not easy to bring major infrastructure projects in on time and on budget.”

“The Environment Agency’s six-year flood defence building programme has done exactly that, better protecting 300,000 homes against the damage and misery of flooding.”

“The climate emergency is bringing more extreme weather, so we must now redouble our efforts to make our communities more resilient in future.”

George Eustice, Environment Secretary, said:

“This important milestone means that 300,000 households are better protected against flooding and coastal erosion.”

“I commend the hard work of the Environment Agency and its partners in supporting flood-hit communities.”

“We know there is more to do, which is why a record £5.2 billion is being invested in 2,000 new flood and coastal erosion schemes over the next six years, to protect thousands more people, homes and businesses.”

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