DEFRA announces £2M for flood rescue capability


The Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (Defra) has announced a total of £2million to improve flood rescue capability. Grants totalling approximately £650,000 have been awarded from the fund today.
Announcing the new funding, Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman said:
"We have learnt from the floods we have experienced in recent years that the emergency response is most effective when public, private and voluntary groups work well together – and we saw  in Cornwall how important it is for these groups to have well rehearsed plans in place.

"The money we're announcing today will help local flood rescue teams – such as fire and rescue services, police and the RNLI – to buy extra equipment or training which will be used in a rescue situation when the need arises."
All the equipment bought with the new money will be added to the National Asset Register of emergency resources that others can call upon in the event of a major flood.

Applications for the remaining funding can be made to Defra until 31 January 2011.
The successful applicants were announced at a flood emergency response exercise at Hawley Lake in Hampshire, which involved fire and rescue crews, police, Army personnel and the Environment Agency. The event marks the launch of preparations for Exercise Watermark, a week-long national flood emergency exercise which takes place in March next year involving all Government departments.

Caroline Spelman added:

"Exercise Watermark stems from Sir Michael Pitt's recommendations following the 2007 floods which caused so much devastation and heartache. The government is committed to implementing those recommendations and working with communities to minimise the risks to people's lives and their livelihoods.

"The events taking place today and next spring when we carry out more emergency drills will help us to be as prepared as we can be for the dangers caused by floods."

Jonathan Rush is Editor Editor of Contingency Today and CT Review. He is also Conference Chair to Civil Contingencies 2011.