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Flood and Coastal Defences

Volume 449: debated on Monday 24 July 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when the full updating of the National Flood and Coastal Defence database will be completed. (86366)

The National Flood and Coastal Defence database has been developed in a number of phases. The latest development means that it can now hold data on structures that help control coastal erosion as well as flood defences, and it is now live and available to staff in both the Environment Agency and the operating authorities. Further development will be planned to meet evolving needs.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what his Department's expenditure has been on flood defences in 2006-07; and if he will make a statement. (86075)

The Environment Agency (EA) is the principal operating authority with responsibility for flood risk management in England. DEFRA has provided £141 million to the EA in grant in aid in 2006-07 up to the end of July. This supports capital improvement projects, maintenance and operation of existing infrastructure, and associated activities such as flood warning, public awareness of flood risk and advising planning authorities with respect to development in areas at risk of flooding.

Local authority expenditure on flood risk management other than capital projects is supported through the Department for Communities and Local Government Revenue Support Grant mechanism.

Capital projects to manage coastal erosion risk often also provide significant benefit in terms of reducing risk of flooding from the sea but expenditure on these is routed directly to local authorities by DEFRA, and is not included in EA grant in aid. It would not be possible to identify the proportion resulting in flood risk benefit without incurring disproportionate cost.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment the Environment Agency has made of the flood defence systems in Robertsbridge, East Sussex; and if he will make a statement. (86887)

The Environment Agency’s current assessment of the Robertsbridge flood defence systems is that they are in very good condition and able to function in accordance with the design.

However, modifications, which will improve the Agency’s response time during a flood incident, are to be made to the road crossing defences this summer in time for the start of the flood season.