Cameron 'to review flood defence spending'

Reports that Prime Minister David Cameron has promised to review flood defence spending in the wake of flooding caused by Storm Desmond feature in today's newspaper round-up.

The Financial Times (subscription required) reports that the government has been "criticised for not ensuring adequate flood defences were in place." The newspaper says that the Prime Minister said high volumes of rainfall in a short amount of time were very hard to manage. But he said that the government would "sit down, look at the money [we] are spending, look at what [we] are planning to do in the future, and ask if it is enough".

A leader column in the Guardian says the government should focus its efforts on flood defences rather than schemes such as the High Speed Two rail project. The newspaper says: "It’s time for the government to put its money where its mouth is. Flood defences are much greater priorities for those affected by these recurrent floods than HS2 or a third runway at Heathrow. Every pound spent on keeping communities dry and protected saves £10 in damage. It also brings the wider social and economic dividends that come with security."

The Guardian also reports that "major energy and fracking companies have made new bids to exploit large shale gas reserves close to many of central Scotland’s biggest towns and cities." The newspaper says that the Department of Energy and Climate Change "has disclosed that nine companies have applied to drill for shale gas on 19 sites, each covering 100 square kilometres, in heavily populated areas close to Glasgow, Edinburgh, Motherwell, Linlithgow, Bathgate, Rosyth and Kirkcaldy."

The Times (subscription required) reports that "a national system of road tolls should be introduced because British motorists are suffering the worst congestion in Europe, according to engineers." The newspaper says that research by the Royal Academy of Engineering found that charging was the "best instrument at the disposal of policymakers" to keep vehicles flowing on the road network.

The Telegraph reports that a "run-down Liverpool housing estate has been crowned the winner of the Turner Prize, after judges found changing the lives of its community was more significant art than an eccentric singing project or fur coats sewn to chairs." The newspaper says that the "cluster of terraced houses", by architecture collective Assemble, has been named the 2015 winner at a ceremony in Glasgow, for revamping houses, gardens and community without resorting to "corporate gentrification".

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