HL Deb 25 July 1996 vol 574 cc154-5WA
Lord Brabazon of Tara

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What is the role of the Environment Agency in the dissemination of flood warnings to the public in England and Wales.

Lord Lucas

Following a review by a Ministry-chaired working group involving representatives of interested organisations, it was agreed last year that, with effect from 1st September 1996, the Environment Agency, as the successor body to the National Rivers Authority (NRA), would assume the lead role in disseminating flood warnings to emergency services, local authorities, other statutory bodies and to people and businesses. This was formalised by means of a Ministerial Direction to the NRA last March which has been inherited by the Environment Agency.

The NRA, and subsequently the agency, has been preparing local flood warning dissemination plans in consultation with the police and local authorities with the aim of providing timely, accurate flood warnings for locations at risk throughout England and Wales where a flood forecasting system exists. These plans will be held at the agency's area offices concerned. With the aid of grant from the Ministry and Welsh Office, the agency is installing automatic voice messaging systems to improve the provision of flood warning information to the public. It will be publicising the new arrangements by various means, including the issuing of leaflets to people and organisations in flood risk areas.