The budget on Wednesday was the government’s first major opportunity to set out their environmental credentials after the 2019 election and they certainly weren’t afraid to splash the cash. Infrastructure spending is a massive feature of the budget, with a new pothole fund, £27 Billion on roads and £5 Billion on broadband upgrades.
Others have reacted to the budget with commentary on the need for a greater focus on public transport and reducing car dependency rather than the large sums being spent to expand roads across the country, but I was struck by the doubling of flood defence spending from £2.6 - £5.2 Billion.
This infrastructure spending might be happening because Boris Johnson seems to love the idea of building a physical legacy, perhaps hoping to model himself and his government after his classical hero Pericles – the Athenian leader who built the famous Acropolis and developed Piraeus port.1 But in the case of flooding, building more hard defences isn’t the only answer and there are powerful nature-based solutions that can be very effective as flooding becomes more common due to the climate and nature emergency.2
Take a look at two fabulous example of how investment in our reserves has helped manage flooding in a natural way: