New flood taxes could pay for storm defences

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New flood taxes could in future help to pay for defences against rising river levels and stormy seas as part of a package of options being looked at by the Government.

The move, unveiled by the Flood minister, Elliot Morley, aims to meet criticisms that defences are underfunded and action is necessary to meet the threat of extreme weather.

The proposal comes after the disastrous autumn 2000 floods, and as towns including Shrewsbury and communities in Wales, the Midlands and North Yorkshire are coping with the effects of days of downpours.

Mr Morley said one idea is that house builders who want to put properties on flood plains should pay a one-off charge to help to fund flood defences in their area. Alternatively, the money could be raised through new bodies made up of councillors and other local stakeholders with the power to raise funds locally.