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 Scheme
Barripper flow distribution improvement scheme
Carbis Bay – St Margaret’s Hotel Culvert Refurbishment
Cawsand Fluvial Flood Alleviation Scheme
Crackington Haven Flood Alleviation Scheme
Falmouth Tidal Flood Alleviation Scheme
Fowey Flood Alleviation Scheme
Gilberts Coombe Flood Alleviation Scheme
Gunnislake Drakewalls Stream Flood Alleviation Scheme
Hayle Foundry Square Flood Alleviation Scheme
Hayle River flood banks refurbishment
Heamoor Chyandour Stream Flood Defence Scheme
Kingsand Fluvial Flood Alleviation Scheme
Kingsand Tidal Flood Alleviation Scheme
Looe Flood Alleviation Scheme
Lostwithiel River Fowey Flood Alleviation Scheme
Lostwithiel Tanhouse Stream Flood Alleviation Scheme
Mevagissey Tidal Flood Alleviation Scheme
Mevagissey Fluvial Flood Alleviation Scheme
Millbrook Banks Flood Alleviation Scheme
Newlyn Fluvial Flood Alleviation Scheme
Newlyn Fluvial Flood Alleviation Scheme
Par Moor Diversion Culvert Scheme
Penryn tidal Flood Alleviation Scheme
Penzance Wherrytown and Harbour Tidal Flood Alleviation Scheme
Portreath Flood Alleviation Scheme
Saltash Tidal Flood Alleviation Scheme
St Mawes Tidal Flood Alleviation Scheme
Tredenham Close pumping station and drainage improvements
Wadebridge flood defence improvements
Wadebridge sheet pile wall refurbishment
White River flood defence re-alignment
Crooklets Beach Sea Defence Refurbishment
Downderry Coast Protection Works Phase 2
Halzephron Coastal Adaptation Works
Kingsand Coast Protection Works
Long Rock Revetment Extension East
Long Rock Revetment Extension West
Mevagissey Harbour Victoria Pier Refurbishment
Penzance Promenade Refurbishment
Porthleven Harbour Walls Refurbishment
Praa Sands Coast Defence Works Phase Two
St Ives Wharf Road Sea Wall Improvements – Option 1 Raise Sea Wall
St Ives Wharf Road Sea Wall Improvements – Option 2 Individual Property Protection
St Mawes Sea Wall Refurbishment
River Plym Improvements Project
Alfington Individual Property Protection Scheme
Fenny Bridges Flood Alleviation Scheme
Old Feniton Village Flood Alleviation Scheme
Exeter Red Cow Flood Alleviation Scheme
Camels Head Wolseley Road carriageway reprofiling
Embankment Road by Haywoods pumping and attenuation improvements
Keyham, Saltash Road surface water capacity improvements
Plymouth Barbican Phoenix Wharf renovation
Plymouth Marshall Road Culvert renewal/relining
Plymouth The Cattewater Teats Hill slipway refurbishment
Plymouth The Sound Jennycliff cliff stabilisation
Plymouth The Sound, West Hoe Pier renovation
Plympton Drunken Bridge Hill additional highway drainage
Plymstock Alexandra Close surface water flood protection
Plymstock Vinery Lane additional highway drainage
Hope Cove – Implementation of Catchment Study recommendations
Broadsands Sea Wall Structural Repairs