HC Deb 04 July 1995 vol 263 cc139-40W
Mr. McMaster

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will meet a delegation representing the Paisley south end flood committee; and if he will make a statement. [31399]

Mr. Kynoch

I know that the Paisley south end flood committee is providing local assistance to those persons still unable to return to their homes following the flooding in December 1994. Their fund-raising efforts are to be commended. The Government have made substantial assistance available to individuals and local authorities, as detailed in my reply to the hon. Member on 21 April 1995; the committee should continue to seek support from the Strathclyde regional council hardship fund and the Renfrew district council's provost fund.

Mr. McMaster

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what conclusions he has reached on the causes of the flooding during December 1994 in(a) the south end of Paisley, (b) Park avenue, Paisley, (c) Collier street, Johnstone and (d) other locations within the Paisley, South constituency; what information he has sought and obtained from local and statutory authorities in relation to this flooding; what further plans he has to encourage and facilitate flood prevention measures in these areas; and if he will make a statement. [31389]

Sir Hector Monro

The exceptional rainfall to the south of Paisley over the weekend 9 to 11 December is estimated by the Clyde river purification board to have a statistical return period of over 500 years. Some natural channels and culverts could not cope with the resulting run-off. In some cases, this was exacerbated by blockages to culvert screens. Strathclyde regional council, presently the body with flood prevention powers, has recorded details of notified flood incidents across its area and will make this information available to unitary councils, which inherit these powers in April 1996. The Government have offered to assist with further studies but the council has not yet made any proposals. Renfrew district council, however, as a riparian owner, has given high priority to improving culverts at Stockholm crescent.

Details of damage to housing and other property have been provided by Renfrew district council. In setting the housing revenue account allocation for council housing investment in 1995–96 the Government met in full the council's request for additional funds. Government grant at the rate of 50 per cent. is available for flood prevention schemes should Strathclyde, or the new councils, decide to take further action.

Mr. McMaster

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what discussions his Department has had in respect of arranging a visit by Her Majesty the Queen to flood victims in (a) the south end of Paisley and the town of Johnstone and (b) the Ferguslie park area; and if he will make a statement. [31484]

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton

Her Majesty the Queen had already accepted an invitation to visit Ferguslie park to open the Tannahill centre before the flooding took place across south-west Scotland in December. In the light of the flooding, it was decided that a short visit to the Candren road area of Ferguslie park would be appropriate. It unfortunately was not possible, given the very full programme to which she was already committed that day, to include a visit by the Queen to the other areas affected by the flooding. The Ferguslie Partnership has been responsible for the arrangements for the royal visit and the Scottish Office staff, through their participation in the partnership, have been involved in these arrangements.

Mr. McMaster

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what plans he has to introduce measures to indemnify the(a) landlords, including local authorities and housing associations, and (b) residents, occupiers and tenants of properties which have experienced flooding against the risk of future damage to buildings, property and contents from further floods until such times as adequate flood prevention measures have been put in place; and if he will make a statement. [31388]

Mr. Kynoch

It is the responsibility of the landlord to consider insuring the structure of any house or building which they own and the tenant is responsible for insuring the contents of their home. Most public sector landlords have some form of building insurance cover and this is also the case for housing associations.

As far as privately owned stock is concerned, it is for owner-occupiers themselves to make their own arrangements for insuring both the structure of their property and its contents.

Protection of property from flooding is primarily the responsibility of the owner. It is for the riparian owners of water courses, culverts and ditches to maintain these properly. Strathclyde regional council has powers to carry out works to prevent or mitigate flooding, but it has decided not to carry out any flood prevention work in its remaining months of existence.