Changes widen opportunities for water projects

A FUND used by councils across the North East can now be used to help major flood prevention schemes.

Regional flood and coastal committees are able to raise a Local Levy from local authorities each year.

In the past this money has been spent on small projects and community programmes to raise awareness and help people to develop flood groups and an improved response to flood warnings.

But recent changes introduced by the Flood and Water Management Act mean that it can now be spent on a wider scope of activities in addition to the existing options.

This includes helping a scheme to increase its performance score so that it can receive an allocation of Government flood defence money and fully funding on-going works that are a priority for the committee.

The fund can also be used to develop the business case for projects which are likely to receive the Government’s grant in aid in future years and support surface water flooding and ordinary watercourse flooding schemes.

Local Levy Programme Manager for the Northumbria area, Peter Kerr, said: “This is quite a significant change for the committee.

“In the past we have been able to deliver small projects with this fund, but we now have a wide range of options as to how we can spend the money which provides some exciting possibilities for the future.”

Mr Kerr added: “This additional flexibility will help us to meet the needs of communities across the North East.”

The Northumbria committee will determine its Local Levy rate for 2012/13 in January.