HC Deb 27 November 2003 vol 415 c378W
Miss McIntosh

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the new structures for(a) flood defences and (b) flood protection are; and what assessment she has made of efficiency savings in terms of (i) costs and (ii) manpower resulting from the introduction of new structures. [142040]

Mr. Morley

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State announced the conclusions of the flood and coastal defence funding review on 12 March 2003. These include the transfer of responsibility for rivers creating the greatest flood risk to the Environment Agency; funding the Environment Agency through a single stream of Defra grand in aid; and introducing a single tier of flood defence committee by abolishing the local tier where it exists but creating additional regional committees where this is considered appropriate.

These measures are not designed primarily to secure cost or manpower savings. Rather they are designed to help achieve a more assured, streamline, effective and accountable service of flood defence and flood protection, that achieves a better reduction in flood risk nationally for the investment made.

Defra is however working with the Environment Agency on process improvement which will take account of the changes referred to above, further rationalise scheme appraisal and approval processes and reduce the proportion of overheads in scheme costs.

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