A leading engineering organisation has called on Chancellor George Osborne to use next month's Budget to return Government spending on flood risk management to its pre-2010 level.
The Institution of Civil Engineers said that the Environment Agency's annual maintenance budget for flood defences had fallen by 39.2% from more than £100 million in 2010/11 to just £60.7 million in 2014/15.
Prime Minister David Cameron's announcement of £130 million for emergency repairs and maintenance following the recent floods was not enough to make up for cuts introduced in Mr Osborne's 2010 Comprehensive Spending Review, said the ICE's director general Nick Baveystock.
In its submission to the Treasury ahead of the March 19 Budget, the ICE urged the Chancellor to return capital and maintenance investment in flood risk management to pre-2010 levels in real terms.
And it said that ministers should commit to a longer-term investment programme for flood defences beyond the current five-year programme, to provide the certainty needed to improve flood resilience.
Mr Baveystock said: "While Government funding for flood risk management rose to £370 million in 2015/16 and is protected in real terms to 2020/21, unfortunately this provides neither the level of investment or long-term certainty required to improve resilience against flooding.
"The reductions to the maintenance settlement are also concerning, and - as the recent flooding and coastal surges have shown - the flood defences protecting our communities, businesses and the other vital infrastructure networks and services we depend on must be maintained regularly and comprehensively.
"The £130 million recently pledged by Government to help fund emergency repairs and maintenance following the recent events is welcome - however, it does not make up for the cuts made in the 2010 Comprehensive Spending Review.
"This under-spend has been detrimental to communities, business and infrastructure and Government has an opportunity at the March Budget to address this, demonstrating its commitment to decision-making for the longer term and ensuring flood spending is targeted effectively."
He added: "ICE and its members stand ready to work with Government to deliver more effective ways of building resilience into our approach to flood risk management, and provide expertise and technical support to Government's review into transport network resilience."