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Help for properties to be more flood resilient

Cornwall Council has been awarded a £487,200 funding boost to help homes and businesses become more resilient to flooding.

Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey has announced the funding for the new South West Partnership's Pathfinder project to create a demonstration hub, web portal and other measures to make it easier for residents and businesses to adopt measures like flood doors, hard floors and electrics raised off ground level.

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The partnership is led by Cornwall Council and will benefit homes and businesses in Cornwall, the Isles of Scilly and Devon.

The projects will be delivered with support from the Environment Agency and representatives of the insurance and construction industries, technical experts and community groups.

The Environment Agency will also monitor the projects to highlight successes and identify lessons that can be used to foster greater use of property flood resilience measures elsewhere across the country.

Rob Nolan, Cornwall’s Cabinet Member for the environment and public protection, said: “We are pleased to be working with the Environment Agency and lead local flood authorities from the South West Regional Flood and Coastal Committee on this innovative new project.

“The South West Partnership's Pathfinder project will enable us to create a foundation for change for residents and businesses across the region to improve their flood resilience.

“We will be supporting the existing community networks Cornwall Community Flood Forum and Devon Community Resilience Forum who, in turn, will be working with communities to demonstrate the benefits of being proactive in protecting homes and businesses from flooding. 

“We look forward to sharing our expertise on flood resilience to bring positive benefits to communities across the South West.”

Dr Dave Watkins, Cornwall Council lead on flooding and coastal change, who developed the application on behalf of Cornwall and Devon, said: “I am really pleased that we have been awarded this project against strong national competition. It will strengthen the ability of the community groups in Devon and Cornwall to help those who need to be more resilient to flooding and also lower their insurance costs.

“We will also work with the Eden Project to provide a location to showcase the techniques available and with other local companies to deliver these methods. Over the next 18 months we will provide regular updates through these Community Flood and Resilience Forums”.

Emma Howard Boyd, Chair of the Environment Agency, said: “This new funding is a welcome step forwards for our efforts to boost the uptake of property-level resilience measures in homes and businesses across the country. The Environment Agency will work closely with the local authorities and organisations taking forward the Pathfinder projects to support their work and share lessons learnt. 

“Our experience shows that making these small changes in the home can make a huge difference to people’s lives when flooding takes place.”

Environment Minister Coffey said: “I am delighted to award funding to the Pathfinder flood resilience projects in the Oxford-Cambridge arc, Yorkshire and the South West. 

“I expect the councils and organisations involved will increase the take up of property resilience measures by home owners and businesses, making their properties safer, and quicker to return to if flooding does happen.”

Building greater resilience into homes, businesses and infrastructure forms is one of the core themes of the Environment Agency’s Draft Flood and Coastal Risk Management Strategy, looking at residents and businesses can prepare for increased climate risk over the next 100 years.

The South West Partnership is comprised of five local authorities: Cornwall Council, Devon County Council, Plymouth City Council, Torbay Council and the Council of the Isles of Scilly.