[holding answer 8 June 2006]: Defra has overall policy responsibility for flood and coastal erosion risk management in England, funds most of the Environment Agency’s flood management activities and provides grant aid on a project by project basis to the other flood and coastal defence operating authorities (local authorities and internal drainage boards) to support their investment in capital improvement projects. Defra does not build defences, nor direct the authorities on which specific projects to undertake. The works programme to manage risk is driven by the operating authorities.
The Warden Bay project is being promoted by Swale borough council and details of the tender process and construction timetable are matters for them. A scheme was approved for grant aid by Defra in July 2005 for start of construction in 2007-08, based on the council’s assessment of costs at that time.