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Environment Agency set Council Tax levy

January 30, 2013

Most money goes elsewhere, but coastal management scheme at Netley

Netley Shoreline

Netley Shoreline

The Environment Agency have announced that their Southern Regional Flood and Coastal Committee (RFCC) agreed a £1.1 million funding package for the next financial year (2013/14) at their meeting on January 24.

The Committee, which is made up of Local Authority representatives from across the South East, agreed to contribute £1.177m to reduce flood risk to local communities across Hampshire, Kent, East & West Sussex and the Isle of Wight. This is the same level of funding that local schemes have been awarded in each of the last four years.

The flood protection projects will offer greater protection to 540,000 people in counties at risk of flooding from rivers and the sea and 518,000 people at risk from surface water flooding.

The Southern RFCC Chairman, Lorraine Brown said:

“I am extremely pleased that our committee members have voted to provide a joint contribution of £1.1 million to help manage flood risk in local communities. This demonstrates the Local Authorities’ commitment to managing food risk and the priority they give to this work, even in respect of the current economic challenges they face.”

Alison Baptiste, the Environment Agency Regional Flood and Coastal Risk Manager, said:

“It is far more cost-effective to invest to reduce flood risk than it is to manage the aftermath of flooding and its economic and social consequences. This year defences prevented flooding to 35,000 homes (84,000 people) and delivered greater protection to 18,640 properties.”

“The annual RFCC funding is vital to helping reduce flood risk and demonstrates the ongoing commitment that local authorities have. The further commitment to increasing funding on a yearly basis will enable more effective, long-term planning of flood risk reduction, which in turn will offer greater levels of community protection. We are hoping to secure a long-term approach to levy setting to attract partnership funding which is playing an increasingly important role.”

The Environment Agency say that the money will be raised by continuing an existing levy on Council Tax and will be used to deliver to flood and coastal defence schemes which are not fully funded by Central Government.

The following table, which is published in the record of this meeting on the Environment Agency website, shows the sums that are to be levied on Local Authorities around the South of England.

Local Authorities 2013/14 Levy (£)
Isle of Wight 35,004
Portsmouth 37,666
Southampton 42,210
Medway Towns 55,655
Brighton & Hove 59,471
Dorset 424
Hampshire 216,039
West Sussex 179,728
Wiltshire 2,982
East Sussex 130,704
Surrey 12,477
Kent 346,738
Bexley 32,909
Bromley 21,153
Greenwich 3,746
Southern RFCC Average 78,460 
Southern RFCC Total 1,176,906

The published documents further explain that the amount payable for each Local Authority is determined by reference to the Local Authority approved Council Tax base, a measure which determines the “taxable capacity of an area”.

The Council Tax base changes each year, because of changes to the housing stock caused by demolition & building, and is a simple count of “Band D equivalent dwellings”.  A Band A dwelling counts as 6/9 of a Band D dwelling, whereas a Band H dwelling counts as 18/9 of a Band D dwelling.

Fortunately, perhaps, only a small part of the Borough of Eastleigh is exposed to the risk of coastal flooding, so much of this money is spent elsewhere across the South of England, mainly in the coastal regions of Kent and East/West Sussex.

The only coastal project within the Borough of Eastleigh that is currently listed in the programme of works, the Netley Cliff Coastal Erosion Management Scheme, but that scheme is now listed as “New Start, Fully funded”.

Having now agreed their budget, the Environment Agency say that the list of projects to be funded by this levy is being finalised and will be agreed in February.

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