HC Deb 10 June 1998 vol 313 c601W
Mr. Prior

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement on protecting areas of environmental importance from coastal erosion. [44464]

Mr. Morley

The Department expects coastal authorities to make the potential impact on habitats, and the environment generally, a key consideration when planning works to prevent or reduce coastal erosion. They should start from the presumption that natural river and coastal processes should not be disrupted except where life or important man-made or natural assets are at risk. Schemes which are not environmentally acceptable are not eligible for grant aid.

Last year the Department introduced a priority scoring system (taking account of Ministerial priorities, urgency and benefit:cost ratio) with a view to optimising the allocation of available funds. Sites of environmental significance are specifically identified within Ministerial priorities, with particular priority being given to sites of international importance.

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