HC Deb 12 November 1968 vol 773 cc189-90
5. Mr. Onslow

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government why he does not propose to publish the findings of his inter-Departmental inquiry into the South-East floods in the form of a White Paper.

Mr. Greenwood

My right hon. Friends and I are not conducting an inquiry so much as examining, as is done on all such occasions, whether any lessons can be learned for the future, for example over communications. I shall be sending a circular to local authorities, which will be available to the House and to the Press, about any points of concern to them that emerge. I do not consider, therefore, that a White Paper is called for.

Mr. Onslow

Surely the Minister is aware that there is continuing public anxiety about such matters as flood warning and flood control? Does he understand that it is essential that these matters should be as widely aired and fully debated in public as possible?

Mr. Greenwood

The hon. Gentleman must have prepared his supplementary question before hearing my Answer. There is good ground for apprehension among the public about this, and that is why we are studying the problem carefully. That is why I have said that I shall be issuing guidance to local authorities, which will be available to the hon. Gentleman as well as to other hon. Members of the House.

Dr. David Kerr

Is my right hon. Friend aware that in the areas of my constituency which were flooded, many people feel that available warnings of flood were ignored? Would he, in the light of this, consider the possibility, particularly for the affected area of Wands-worth, of instituting a public inquiry, if only to restore some peace of mind among the people in these areas who fear a recurrence of these floods?

Mr. Greenwood

As I have said, the Minister of Agriculture is responsible for flood warning, and my right hon. Friend has called a meeting to discuss this subject in the very near future.