§ Lord Hoyle
asked Her Majesty's Government:
What progress has been made in developing targets for flood and coastal defence operating authorities and in developing the Environment Agency's general supervisory duty for flood defence. [HL2377]
§ The Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Lord Donoughue)
We are pleased to announce the publication of interim targets for flood and coastal defence operating authorities and elaboration of the Environment Agency's supervisory duty. We have placed a copy in the Library of the House.
The targets are designed to assist in developing a seamless and integrated service of flood forecasting, warning and response, as well as a more certain delivery 133WA of government policy towards flood and coastal defence. They follow recommendations, which the Government accepted, in last year's Agriculture Select Committee's report on flood and coastal defence and in the independent report on the Easter 1998 floods.
These interim targets will, among other things, set in hand arrangements for flood and coastal defence assets to be identified. recorded on a central database and their integrity assessed. There are also targets in relation to other important issues such as completion and implementation of water level management plans and shoreline management plans, as well as wider environmental objectives.
These targets, and elaboration of the Environment Agency's supervisory duty, have been developed in full co-operation with the agency, the Association of Drainage Authorities and the Local Government Association and in consultation with a wide range of relevant organisations. We have been impressed by the strong support we have had both for the overall approach we have adopted and for the particular measures we are introducing.
A more comprehensive set of targets, and further elaboration of the Environment Agency's supervisory duty, will be developed over the next year for adoption from March 2000. We will continue to work in a consultative way and we shall continue to keep Parliament informed of developments.