HC Deb 08 December 1994 vol 251 c468
18. Mr. Whittingdale

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how much his Ministry is spending this year on improving coastal defences against flooding from the sea.

Mr. Waldegrave

My Department expects to provide some £19 million in grant towards the cost of improving coastal defences against flooding from the sea in 1994–95.

Mr. Whittingdale

I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for his answer. I welcome the work that the National Rivers Authority is doing to evaluate different means of sea defences, including managed retreat. But will my right hon. Friend confirm that it remains the Government's policy to protect, not just populated areas, but prime agricultural land?

Mr. Waldegrave

I can, indeed, confirm that my hon. Friend is right. There may be areas where it is better not to waste money on defences that will be overwhelmed. The importance of defending both human habitation and prime agricultural land is always taken into consideration.