HC Deb 22 March 1922 vol 152 cc480-1W

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether drainage schemes have been prepared in respect of the following rivers: Great Ouse, Yorkshire Ouse and its tributaries, Ancholme, Witham, Welland, Yare and its tributaries, Deben, Blackwater and Chelmer, Crouch, Wey, Lodon and Blackwater, Thame, Colne, Crane and other tributaries of the Thames not already under the Thames Valley Drainage Board, Beult, Avon and Stour, Upper Severn and its tributaries, Lugg, Clwyd, Dee, Gowy, Douglas Waver, the Essex Stour, and Mole and Birkett; the name of the officer of his Department responsible for the preparation of each scheme; the names of the persons by whom any inquiries have been conducted; and the approximate cost of carrying out the drainage schemes approved or in view, with the amount of the Government contribution thereto?


I assume that my hon. Friend's question refers to drainage schemes designed for the alleviation of unemployment. Schemes of this nature have been sanctioned in the case of all the rivers mentioned by my hon. Friend or tributaries of those rivers, except the Witham, Yare, Deben, Wey, Colne (Bucks and Middlesex), Beult, Stour (Dorset), Dee, Waver and Birkett. Such drainage schemes are not prepared by the officers of my Department, but by the drainage board concerned, or by the county agricultural committee, but they are subsequently examined by the Department's technical staff. In order to enable schemes to be examined on the spot, if necessary, before sanction is given, and to be inspected from time to time when once in operation, the country has been divided into six districts, each in charge of one of the Ministry's technical staff, who is responsible for making all such inquiries and for satisfying the Ministry that the Government grant is being properly expended. In reply to the last part of the question, I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply which I gave yesterday to the hon. Member for Exeter (Sir R. Newman). Under the conditions laid down by His Majesty's Government in this connection, 25 per cent. of the cost is recoverable in the case of drainage board schemes, and 33⅓ of the estimated cost in the case of voluntary schemes submitted by county agricultural committees.