HC Deb 05 December 1974 vol 882 cc1917-8
3. Mr. Mather

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement on flood alleviation measures as a result of the recent heavy rains.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Mr. Gavin Strang)

Flood alleviation measures are a matter for land drainage authorities which we help with grant-aid and technical advice. The heavy rains proved the worth of the many flood alleviation projects carried out in recent years. They also served to show which areas still need attention.

Mr. Mather

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that we were debating this matter at nine o'clock this morning and that although I was grateful for his reply it was not very full? Will he give a definite date for the start of this flood alleviation scheme?

Mr. Strang

As I said to the hon. Gentleman early this morning, these financial arrangements, which, he appreciates, have to be worked out between the Ministry, the water authority and the county council, are going ahead. We intend to do all that we can to ensure that a start is made by the end of this financial year.

Mr. Scott-Hopkins

Will the hon. Gentleman look at the cost-related benefit side of this question to see whether any relaxation is required—as I suspect it is—in many areas where the benefit does not come up up to standards laid down by the Ministry?

Mr. Strang

The hon. Gentleman will recognise that there are some very impor- tant projects in the pipeline, including the one which interests his hon. Friend the Member for Esher (Mr. Mather). At the same time, we have a fixed amount of resources and must deploy them in the best possible way.

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