§ 27. Mr. HARRIS
asked the Minister of Agriculture what is being done to deal with coast erosion at Winchelsea beach; whether he is aware that, owing to delay in carrying out the recommendation of his Department, the sea on the 11th of this month destroyed a considerable amount of property and that there is a danger of the flooding of valuable agricultural land; and whether there has been a reduction in the grant towards the cost of coastal defence by the appropriate authority?
§ The MINISTER of AGRICULTURE (Sir John Gilmour)
Winchelsea beach, which has been a danger spot for some years, is within the River Rother Catchment Area, and sea defence works there are matters for the Catchment Board constituted under the Land Drainage Act, 1930. An application for a grant towards the cost of an emergency scheme of works is now under consideration. In view, however, of the further damage which has just taken place, the Ministry is in further communication with the Catchment Board on the matter. With regard to the last part of the question, the Government have decided that no further grants can be made to Catchment Boards for the present under Section 55 of the Land Drainage Act, 1930, except in cases of serious emergency works, and all boards were notified to that effect on 14th October.
§ Mr. HARRIS
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that a scheme was submitted to his Department as long ago as the middle of August, and that it was referred back in October for further consideration? Is he aware also that tide and time wait for no man—[HON. MEMBERS: "Speech!"]—and that, as a result of this delay, part of the land of England has been washed away?
§ Mr. HARRIS
Is the Minister of Agriculture prepared to receive fresh representations from the Catchment Board?
§ Sir J. GILMOUR
There is no necessity for that as they are in communication with me at the present moment.