HC Deb 10 November 2000 vol 356 cc410-1W
Mr. Green

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how much of the £51 million extra allocated for flood defence will be available in(a) 2000–01, (b) 2001–02, (c) 2002–03 and (d) 2003–04; and if he will make a statement. [137401]

Mr. Morley

I made a statement to the House on 6 November about the serious flooding that has occurred in England, including an indication of the uses to which the additional funding will be put. The allocation is as follows:

2000–01 2
2001–02 17
2002–03 17
2003–04 15
Total 51

This additional funding will mean that additional flood defence schemes can be implemented, but due to design, evaluation and planning permission, most could not be brought forward until 2001.

Mr. Green

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what action he took between August 1998 and August 2000 to improve the institutional arrangements for flood defence recommended by the Agriculture Committee's Sixth report of Session 1997–98, HC 707; and if he will make a statement. [137535]

Mr. Morley

The Government response to the report, published on 27 October 1998, set out the reasons why we proposed no fundamental change in the present institutional arrangements for flood and coastal defence. Since then we have, however, worked with the operating authorities—the Environment Agency, internal drainage boards and local authorities—in ensuring the present arrangements work better and best practice is shared. In particular, in November 1999 we published high level targets for the operating authorities to follow and, complementary to this, the Agency has set out how it will apply its general supervisory duty in relation to the work done by the other operating authorities. The Government have also instituted a review of the funding arrangements for the flood and coastal defence which is expected to be completed by September 2001.

The proposed Water Bill, on which the Government are currently consulting, will include amendments to the Environment Act 1995 to allow the creation of additional regional flood defence committees. This will facilitate any future decision to create a single tier of committees, at regional level, as recommended by the Agriculture Committee.

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