Construction will begin this year on seven major Westcountry flood defence schemes to protect thousands of properties – but vital regional schemes to safeguard 2,500 homes have been shelved for five years.
The Government also yesterday confirmed the go-ahead for £26 million of flood protection in Exeter, seen as the most important project in the Westcountry, with work beginning in mid-2014.
Meanwhile, flood resistance in Redruth, Barnstaple and five other locations in the region is to be shored up this year, protecting 3,700 homes, ministers said while announcing £294 million would be spent on defences nationally this year.
Labour criticised the Government, claiming less is being spent this year than in 2008, blaming cuts for 63 Devon and Cornwall schemes being delayed until after 2018.
But the Department for the Environment (Defra) said it would be spending more over five years.
The cash comes as communities across Devon and Cornwall have been battered by flooding in recent months.
Environment Secretary Owen Paterson gave 93 schemes the green light to build this year, bringing "huge relief to tens of thousands of homes and businesses that have lived with the fear of flood waters hitting their doors".
As deluges hit last year, the Treasury promised an extra £120 million from April to get more schemes built. The injection has helped deliver the long-awaited Exeter scheme. The project, expected to be complete by late 2017, will create 1,000 jobs, protect businesses employing 4,700 staff and safeguard 2,000 homes.
Devon County Council and Exeter City Council have committed £3 million each on top of £14 million of state funding already in place. The deal-breaker was £6 million extra from Whitehall. Floods split the city in 1960 and ageing defences have not been upgraded in more than 30 years.
Exeter City Council leader Pete Edwards said: "After recent events we all know that a major flood could be just around the corner and that is something Exeter needs to prepare for."
Seven regional schemes will start this year:
The £8.6 million Dawlish Warren and Exmouth beach management scheme will reduce flood risk to 2,881 homes, businesses and the peninsula's main railway line.
£3.7 million will be spent on 355 properties and businesses in Devon and Cornwall hit by floods last year.
£3 million will be invested at the former Redruth brewery quarter to protect 28 properties and clear the path for regeneration.
The other four schemes are at Barnstaple's Rolle Quay, Whimple near Exeter and Marsh Mills and Millbay in Plymouth.
The Environment Agency has indicated a further 42 flood schemes across Devon and Cornwall will get cash from this year and for five years. Some £25 million will be spent in the South West in total this year. However, 63 proposed schemes will "not proceed" until after 2018 – defences totalling £50 million and protecting 2,500 homes.
Mary Creagh, Labour's Shadow Environment Secretary said: "Flooding is the biggest threat the UK faces from climate change, yet the Government will spend less on flood defences next year than Labour invested in 2008. Every £1 invested in flood defences saves £8 later and prevents untold human misery."
A Defra spokesman said the schemes on the blocks until 2018 are either still in developmental stage or as yet do not deliver value for money, but "may be able to proceed from next year" if costs can be reduced.
She added: "We've transformed the system to make clear how much Government money would be available for a flood defence scheme, if costs can be reduced or other funding found to meet the difference. We expect that 25% more flood defences will go ahead thanks to this partnership funding approach."
Flood defence schemes ‘not proceeding’ before 2018-19
Launceston Newport Flood Alleviation SchemeBarripper flow distribution improvement schemeCarbis Bay – St Margaret’s Hotel Culvert RefurbishmentCawsand Fluvial Flood Alleviation SchemeCrackington Haven Flood Alleviation SchemeFalmouth Tidal Flood Alleviation SchemeFowey Flood Alleviation SchemeGilberts Coombe Flood Alleviation SchemeGunnislake Drakewalls Stream Flood Alleviation SchemeHayle Foundry Square Flood Alleviation SchemeHayle River flood banks refurbishmentHeamoor Chyandour Stream Flood Defence SchemeKingsand Fluvial Flood Alleviation SchemeKingsand Tidal Flood Alleviation SchemeLooe Flood Alleviation SchemeLostwithiel River Fowey Flood Alleviation SchemeLostwithiel Tanhouse Stream Flood Alleviation SchemeMevagissey Tidal Flood Alleviation SchemeMevagissey Fluvial Flood Alleviation SchemeMillbrook Banks Flood Alleviation SchemeNewlyn Fluvial Flood Alleviation SchemeNewlyn Fluvial Flood Alleviation SchemePar Moor Diversion Culvert SchemePenryn tidal Flood Alleviation SchemePenzance Wherrytown and Harbour Tidal Flood Alleviation SchemePortreath Flood Alleviation SchemeSaltash Tidal Flood Alleviation SchemeSt Mawes Tidal Flood Alleviation SchemeTredenham Close pumping station and drainage improvementsWadebridge flood defence improvementsWadebridge sheet pile wall refurbishmentWhite River flood defence re-alignmentCrooklets Beach Sea Defence RefurbishmentDownderry Coast Protection Works Phase 2Halzephron Coastal Adaptation WorksKingsand Coast Protection WorksLong Rock Revetment Extension EastLong Rock Revetment Extension WestMevagissey Harbour Victoria Pier RefurbishmentPenzance Promenade RefurbishmentPorthleven Harbour Walls RefurbishmentPraa Sands Coast Defence Works Phase TwoSt Ives Wharf Road Sea Wall Improvements – Option 1 Raise Sea WallSt Ives Wharf Road Sea Wall Improvements – Option 2 Individual Property ProtectionSt Mawes Sea Wall RefurbishmentDEVONRiver Plym Improvements ProjectAlfington Individual Property Protection SchemeFenny Bridges Flood Alleviation SchemeOld Feniton Village Flood Alleviation SchemeExeter Red Cow Flood Alleviation SchemeCamels Head Wolseley Road carriageway reprofiling Embankment Road by Haywoods pumping and attenuation improvementsKeyham, Saltash Road surface water capacity improvementsPlymouth Barbican Phoenix Wharf renovationPlymouth Marshall Road Culvert renewal/reliningPlymouth The Cattewater Teats Hill slipway refurbishmentPlymouth The Sound Jennycliff cliff stabilisationPlymouth The Sound, West Hoe Pier renovationPlympton Drunken Bridge Hill additional highway drainagePlymstock Alexandra Close surface water flood protectionPlymstock Vinery Lane additional highway drainageHope Cove – Implementation of Catchment Study recommendations Broadsands Sea Wall Structural Repairs