HC Deb 19 July 1956 vol 556 cc1375-6
30 and 31. Mr. Albu

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) why he reduced the loan sanction required by the Lee Conservancy Catchment Board for 1956–57 by one-sixth;

(2) if he will consult the Lee Conservancy Catchment Board on measures to be taken to hasten the works on the River Lea and the drainage system in the Borough of Edmonton to overcome the recurrent flooding which occurs in that borough.

Mr. Amory

There is continuing consultation between my Department and the Lee Conservancy Catchment Board, and I know the Board is aware of the urgency of this scheme. The first section of the work is already in hand, and when proposals for the two remaining sections are submitted they will be dealt with as quickly as possible. The capital investment allocation to the Board was reduced on general financial grounds, but this was a provisional allocation, and my Department has informed the Board that an increase will be sympathetically considered if this is necessary to cover urgent works.

Mr. Albu

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that this is a breach of faith with the Board and with a promise given to me by the Parliamentary Secretary in the debate in the House in February last year? Is he further aware of the extreme suffering which is caused by these repeated floods, like the one we had last week in which a very large number of householders had a large amount of their property destroyed, for which they have no compensation? Is he aware that I had a telegram from the Chairman of the North London Productivity Council informing me that several hundred thousand hours of work had been lost due to this flood, and does he think that this form of restraint on capital expenditure is in the national interest?

Mr. Amory

When the hon. Gentleman reads my Answer, he will, I think, see that no application has been rejected. In fact, the first phase of the scheme has been completed. The second and third phase plans have not yet been received by me, and, as soon as they are, I have promised, as the hon. Gentleman will see if he reads my Answer, sympathetic consideration.