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Mole Valley Flood Alleviation Scheme

Volume 884: debated on Thursday 23 January 1975

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asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what is the starting date for the Mole Valley flood alleviation scheme.

The Thames Water Authority was given approval in principle to carry out this scheme on 13th January. The matter is now in its hands.

Is the Minister aware that since Monday there has been an amber flood warning on the River Mole? The last time we had an amber warning there was considerable flooding, and people living in the areas are now getting very anxious. Will the Minister give an assurance that the disagreement over contributions will not delay the beginning of the scheme?

The resolution of the argument over contributions is a matter for the Thames Water Authority and the Surrey County Council. My Ministry has offered to give every help it can to try to resolve this matter because, like the hon. Member, we are anxious that the scheme should go ahead as soon as possible.

Will my hon. Friend confirm that when planning permission was sought on flood plains the former Thames Conservancy opposed building and on occasions was overruled by the decision of the inspector? If that was so, will my hon. Friend take steps, with the Secretary of State for the Environment, to see that such events do not recur?

I am not sure whether my hon. Friend is referring to this specific scheme.

My constituents have suffered bad flooding from the Rivers Mole, Wey and Bourne in recent years, and they are waiting anxiously for the Mole scheme starting date, because flood alleviation schemes for the Wey and Bourne depend on the commencement of that scheme.

I think I can fairly claim that I have kept the promises I gave the hon. Member for Esher (Mr. Mather) in the debate on the matter before Christmas. Any delay now will certainly not be the Ministry's responsibility.