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Drainage Works

Volume 440: debated on Monday 21 July 1947

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57.

asked the Minister of Agriculture by what date he aims to have the work completed of restoring the existing drainage system damaged by the floods; and if he is satisfied that the work will be done in time to ensure that there is no flooding caused by the normal rainfall and tides before that date.

The drainage authorities concerned feel confident that they will be able to complete the necessary rehabilitation works before next winter, and, in some cases, to incorporate a measure of improvement to their embankments. Given normal weather and tidal conditions, flooding should not occur before the works are completed.

Could the right non. Gentleman give an approximate date, as people do not know when the work is going to begin?

It is quite impossible to give a date, that being determined by numerous local factors.

58.

asked the Minister of Agriculture how many men are employed in the North Level Internal Board's area and in the Great Ouse Catchment Board's area on restoration of the existing system of drainage; how many have been asked for by the respective boards; how many additional men will be made available for long-term schemes in the Welland and Great Ouse Catchment Board's areas; and when work will start on such schemes.

Over 200 men are now employed by the North Level Commissioners, and some 500 by the River Great Ouse Catchment Board on restoration and improvement work. Prisoner-of-war labour has been made available as required. The availability of supervisors and of local accommodation will determine the rate at which further labour, if it should prove necessary, can be absorbed. All practicable steps are being taken to help the Boards. As regards the last part of the Question, I assume that the hon. and gallant Member has in mind the major improvement scheme of the River Welland Catchment Board, and the revised flood protection scheme of the Great Ouse Catchment Board. The former scheme was approved by my Department in November last, but detailed information about the latter scheme has yet to be submitted. Both Boards have urgent rehabilitation works in hand which must be completed without delay. However, the Welland Board will start work on the outfall end of their major schemes shortly. Before work can begin on the other scheme a number of preliminaries, including the acquisition of land, must be completed.

While I appreciate the length of the answer, could the right hon. Gentleman answer in detail, the third part of the Question, as to how many men have been asked for by the respective boards?