HC Deb 28 October 1999 vol 336 cc942-3W
Mr. Cousins

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he plans to require the Environment Agency to eliminate the risk of flooding, contamination and storm sewer overflow in the Ouse Burn/Jesmond Dene Stream, Newcastle; and if the effects of climate change have been assessed in calculating these risks. [95910]

Mr. Mullin

The Environment Agency is aware of the risk of flooding within the Ouse Burn catchment. The Agency's records identify the majority of properties which have been affected previously. In addition, a hydraulic study, carried out under section 105 of the Water Resources Act 1991, has identified the properties at risk from a 1 in 100 year flood event.

The Agency considers that it is not possible to eliminate flood risk completely. However, the risk can be minimised by appropriate management of the river channel and appropriate development in the flood plain.

The Environment Agency is working closely with Northumbrian Water to agree prioritisation of a continuing programme of work to improve unsatisfactory storm sewer overflows. The Government have pressed for this programme to be accelerated under the current Periodic Review of water industry price limits.

Since 1991 estimates of rising sea levels arising from geological movements of the British mainland and from climate change effects have been built into the appraisal of options for flood defence.