§ Mr. David Porter
To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what are the current criteria for grant-aiding coast protection and sea defence works; what changes she is expecting to make in the criteria; how much of the East Anglian coastline she expects to meet the criteria in the next two years; and if she will make a statement.
§ Mr. Jack
The basic criteria for grant-aiding coast protection and sea defence works are that they should be technically sound, economically worth while and environmentally acceptable. The protection of life is the paramount objective, but in considering applications for grant aid, there is a presumption that natural coastal processes should not be disrupted except where life or important natural or man-made assets are at risk. In recent months, the Ministry has published revised and expanded guidance on project appraisal and new guidance on environmental aspects of coastal defences, so that operating authorities are aware of how the criteria are applied. Application of the criteria is kept under review, but no changes are foreseen at present.
The need for improvements to some coastal defences in East Anglia is recognised. Several major grant-aided schemes are already under way or in the course of preparation. It is not possible to say how much of the East Anglian coastline will meet the critera for grant aid in the next two years, as it is for the local operating authorities, in the first instance, to decide what schemes to bring forward for approval. However, it is likely that a major part of the Ministry's grant provision will continue to be directed to the Anglian region.