HC Deb 15 November 2001 vol 374 cc885-6W
21. Mr. Swire

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much was spent by central Government, local government and agencies on flood defences and flood prevention in(a) 1997–98 and (b) 2000–01; and what the estimated spending is for 2001–02. [13085]

Mr. Morley

Flood defence is provided by the Environment Agency, local authorities and internal drainage boards. The table shows expenditure by the Environment Agency in England, by English local authorities and estimated expenditure by internal drainage boards.

1997–98 2000–01
Environment Agency 255.2 270.4
Local authorities 13.0 120.1
Internal Drainage Boards 240.0 241.0
Total 308.2 331.5

It is not possible to provide a fully broken down estimate of expenditure in 2001–02 but DEFRA grant will increase by some £26 million and levies to the Environment Agency increased by some £19 million indicating that overall expenditure could increase by some £45 million on the 2000–01 figure.

Mr. Sayeed

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans she has to implement the recommendations of the National Audit Office to increase levels of investment in capital and maintenance in preparation for floods; and if she will make a statement. [13882].

Mr. Morley

Operational responsibility for flood alleviation measures rests with local operating authorities, namely the Environment Agency, local authorities and Internal Drainage Boards. This Department provides funding on capital works and the provision available for flood and coastal defence has already been increased from last year's outturn of £66 million to £114 million in 2003–04. The operating authorities' maintenance and operational programmes are funded largely through local government funding arrangements. Currently some £264 million a year is provided through Standard Spending Assessments which are largely supported by central grant and non-domestic rate income. Further increase in both funding streams will be considered in the Spending Review 2002 process.

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