The United Kingdom has announced today that £12m is being made available in new funding to help developing countries prepare for disasters and climate change. The funds will be issued to the START NETWORK to help with rapid responses to floods, droughts and tsunamis.
On top of this a further £8m will be used to support the Centre for Disaster Protection to help countries deal with extreme weather and pandemics. Both funds will support early action initiatives too, such as improved forecasting for heatwaves in Pakistan and Madagascar to help avoid damage from drought to building rapid response teams to help clear drains and warn residents at an early stage so they can protect their homes and livlihoods.
Looking at the home front, the Environment Bill will now include new legal duties to tackle sewage discharges into rivers to help protect our waterways. There will be three new measures on storm overflows – a duty of Government to publish a plan by September 2022 to reduce sewage discharges from storm overflows, a duty on Government to report to Parliament on progress and a duty on water companies to publish data on storm overflow operations each year.
Environment Minister Rebecca Pow said:
The concerning issue of untreated sewage in our rivers demands urgent action. The inclusion of these measures in the Environment Bill will ensure steps are taken to tackle unacceptable levels of pollution.
While we cannot get rid of storm overflows overnight, we are working hard to accelerate progress in this area to protect our precious water environment and wildlife.
This work is in addition to the Storm Overflows Taskforce that brings the Government, water companies and environmental groups together to increase the number of overflows that will be improved to eliminate harm from storm overflows.