§ 17 and 18. Mr. Chataway
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) what plans he has for expediting flood prevention work in the Manor Lane area of North Lewisham;
(2) when he will reply to the letter of 2nd February from the Deputy Clerk of the London County Council about flood prevention work in the Rivers Quaggy and Ravensbourne.
Since the London County Council wrote on 2nd February, we have received the plans promised in the letter and other details. These are being considered in conjunction with the council's 573 comprehensive proposals for the River Ravensbourne. A reply has now been sent to the council explaining that we hope to be in a position in two or three weeks' time to say whether or not we can approve the proposals for the Manor Lane area in isolation from the comprehensive scheme.
§ Mr. Chataway
While I am grateful to my hon. Friend for that reply, may I ask if he realises that this matter is extremely urgent? Many people in this area are not able to get insurance cover because the flooding has been so long and so severe. Will he realise that it is in the spring that this flooding has always occurred, and that if no action has been taken within the next few weeks his Department will be about as popular with my constituents as the mud which will then flow into their basements.
Apart from the last sentence of that supplementary question, I appreciate that this matter is urgent, but I hope my hon. Friend realises that this scheme is extremely difficult and extremely costly compared with many other schemes in different parts of the country. We hope, however, to make some progress shortly.