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Flood defence projects 'criticised'

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The Government has announced 39 new projects for flood and coastal defence in the country.

According to junior environment minister Richard Benyon, while 21 of the projects are aimed at increasing protection against floods for more than 13,000 houses, other remaining schemes will target "vital repairs and safety enhancements"

However, the announcement has come under scrutiny, with the Government being criticised for sidelining flood defence plans for houses and businesses around the UK, also raising concern among owners looking for home insurance cover in areas that are prone to flooding.

Shadow environment secretary Mary Creagh has pointed out that with the Government's £95 million cut to the flood defence budget this year, a number of previously planned schemes have been put aside.

Mr Benyon, who replied to an urgent question in the Commons, said: "I understand the concerns of people and honourable members who are worried that a particular scheme is not on the indicative list for funding.

"I should stress however that this does not amount to the Government cancelling schemes or saying that any particular scheme cannot go ahead in the future.

"The method of Government funding for schemes starting 2012-13 and beyond is currently under review."

Nick Starling, director of general insurance and health at the ABI, said: "With over five million people at risk of flooding, it is vital that our flood-vulnerable communities get the best flood protection possible.

"Government investment must be targeted where it is needed most and show flood reduction results on the ground.

"Insurers remain committed to ensuring that flood insurance remains widely available, and we are discussing with Government how best to protect high flood-risk properties, after the current insurance agreement on flood insurance finishes in 2013."

© Press Association 2011