Six rural areas are to receive a share of a half-a-million pound fund making it easier for them to apply for flood protection, Floods Minister Rory Stewart announced today.

The ‘Pathfinder Projects’ pilot schemes will look at cutting red tape and costs for small communities at risk of flooding across the country.

Each pilot will support local authorities in developing innovative ways to apply for funding, combining smaller projects into larger and more effective flood risk management packages for each area.

Floods Minister Rory Stewart said:

“We are investing in flood protection across the country at record levels, with an unprecedented six-year commitment of £2.3 billion to better protect an additional 300,000 homes by 2021.

“These pilots will make it easier for local authorities to apply for flood protection funding so they can better protect people’s homes and businesses. Our rural and small communities will also have the opportunity to play a key role in developing these schemes.”

The local authorities receiving funding to investigate and assess options are:

· Northamptonshire County Council – addressing flood risks in parts of Daventry, Helmdon, Grimscote, Cogenhoe, Quinton, Grendon and Grafton Underwood.

· Buckinghamshire County Council – addressing surface and ground water risks in four locations in Buckinghamshire and will support projects in Bishopstone, Saunderton/Bradenham, Hughenden Valley and Monks Risborough.

· Kirklees County Council – addressing a range of surface water risks for communities within Honley, Moldgreen, Huddersdfield and Kirkburton.

· Warwickshire County Council – developing and assessing a package of flood risk management measures for groups of properties in small communities in Warwickshire.

· Hampshire County Council – addressing a combination of ground, surface and river flood risks in the county. The project will explore possible solutions for communities near Andover, in Vernhan Dean, Upton, Hurstbourne Tarrant, Stoke and St Mary Bourne.

· Lancashire County Council – addressing largely surface water and ordinary water course flood risks The communities being considered are within Whitworth, Stackstead, Strongstry, Rawtenstall and Cloughfold (all in Rossendale) and Ewood Bridge.

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