§ Patrick Mercer
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what measures are in place to prevent the flooding of properties along the Trent in Nottinghamshire; and what financial provision has been made for flood defence in Nottinghamshire in 2003–04. 
§ Mr. Morley
This Department provides grants for flood and coastal defence capital works, and associated studies, which meet essential technical, economic and environmental criteria and achieve an appropriate priority score Operational responsibility for flood management measures rests with the local operating authorities, normally the Environment Agency (EA) and local councils, who decide which projects to promote and their timing.
I understand that there are approximately 250 km of flood defences along the Trent and its tributaries which have been constructed by the Environment Agency and its predecessors. The Agency spends some £1.5million per year on the maintenance of these flood defence systems.
Defra encourages operating authorities to take a strategic approach to flood and coastal defence problems and to consider the need for schemes and develop proposals within an overall strategy for catchment areas so as not to create problems elsewhere. The Agency has commissioned consultants to prepare a strategy which will inform flood defence options for the River Trent between Stoke-on-Trent and Newark. Defra is providing grant aid for related studies. It is expected that the strategy will be published this Autumn. The Agency then plan to prepare a strategy for the tidal reach of the River between Newark and the Number Estuary. Defra will consider any capital works emerging from these strategies against the criteria above.