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Flood Control: Coastal Areas

Volume 464: debated on Monday 8 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the current estimate is of the coastal surge risk over the next four years; and how this estimate will be kept under review. (154110)

The current estimate of surge risk is linked to the estimate of storminess over the next four years. Analysis of the weather over the last 50 years has shown a trend for strengthening winds in the Atlantic with wide yearly variability.

However, as the drivers for storm surge events are directly weather related, it is not possible to forecast their occurrence with any certainty more than 48 hours in advance.

The Environment Agency now oversee the Storm Tide Forecasting Service, the tide gauge network, which forecasts and measures surge events, with “Wavenet”, which measures wave size and strength. These services are provided to the agency to support their short-term forecasting in partnership with the Met Office, Proudman Oceonographic Laboratory and the Government scientists at the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when he expects the Environment Agency to publish guidance to landowners on the maintenance of sea defences. (154415)

Information for owners and occupiers of land adjacent to sea defences in England is available from the Environment Agency’s website at:

I have also arranged for copies to be placed in the Libraries of the House. The Environment Agency has also produced a leaflet summarising the landowner policy options. This is currently being printed and should be available in all the Environment Agency’s area offices by the end of October.