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Silkstream Flood Defence Scheme

Volume 402: debated on Thursday 3 April 2003

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If she will make a statement on progress with the Silkstream flood defence scheme. [106701]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
(Mr. Elliot Morley)

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has approved the Environment Agency's proposed Silkstream flood defence scheme, subject to satisfactory resolution of negotiations with landowners. I understand that the agency is undertaking those negotiations and has commenced detailed design, with a view to starting construction in late summer 2004.

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for that answer, but can he do anything to speed up the scheme? It is already a year behind schedule, and summer 2004 is six months later than the date that was given in the previous answer at the beginning of the year. Will he ascertain whether anything can be done to make some progress on the scheme, which is long overdue and badly needed by my constituents?

My hon. Friend has raised the issue for some time and I sympathise with his frustration about the progress that has been made. I understand that negotiations with landowners constitute one of the problems because land needs to be acquired. However, I believe that they are concluding and I hope that progress will be made quickly.