HC Deb 06 February 1939 vol 343 cc629-30
54. Mr. De Chair

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he has any statement to make about the flood danger in the Fens; what progress has been made since March, 1937, in flood precautions; and whether the Ministry and the Ouse Catchment Board are in complete agreement as to the major schemes of flood prevention still required, and the apportionment of financial responsibility for the same?

Mr. Ramsbotham

My right hon. Friend is informed that a break occurred on 31st January in the right bank of the Soham Lode and a certain amount of flooding took place. The flood water has, however, been evacuated by pumping and steps are being taken to close the breach. In other parts of the South Level area the position was critical for some days, but water levels are now falling and I understand that the catchment board are satisfied that the situation is well in hand. Since March, 1937, schemes for the River Great Ouse Catchment Board, estimated to cost nearly £2,000,000, have been approved in principle for a Government grant of 75 per cent. With regard to the last part of the question, I understand that the catchment board are considering what further capital works are required, but until further proposals are submitted to my right hon. Friend, it is obviously impossible to say whether they will commend themselves to him. The catchment board are aware that any further scheme of a substantial character will, if approved, qualify for a grant of 75 per cent.

Mr. De Chair

Does the sum of £2,000,000 to which the Minister has referred, cover the scheme for the training walls of the Wash?

Mr. Ramsbotham

I must have notice of that question.

Mr. Shinwell

Does the scheme provide any financial assistance for the relief of those who have suffered as a result of these floods?

Mr. Ramsbotham

Perhaps the hon. Member will put that question down.