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Thames Estuary

Volume 468: debated on Thursday 6 December 2007

10. What assessment he has made of the risk of flooding in the Thames estuary following the recent alert; and if he will make a statement. (171739)

London and the Thames estuary are protected to an extremely high standard. Current indications are that existing defences provide a better standard of protection than previously thought and are unlikely to require any major changes until after 2030.

I thank the Minister for his reassurance on that point. Will he talk with his colleagues in the Department for Communities and Local Government and those dealing with the Thames Gateway to see whether an additional east London crossing, which might include rail and road, could also incorporate engineering works that would help to control flooding and tidal flows in the Thames estuary? That would give assurances not only to existing residents, but to people who wish to regenerate both sides of the estuary.

I have already done so, and on my hon. Friend’s urging will certainly do so again. The long-term plans for flood protection for the Thames estuary and London are extremely important, which is why we pay particular attention to them, and co-ordinating those with the Thames Gateway policies—as the Prime Minister announced in his speech on 29 November to the Thames Gateway conference—is of course a central part of the strategy. That is why we are working with the Department for Communities and Local Government to look at regeneration and integrating the schemes. It is a point that the hon. Member for Vale of York (Miss McIntosh) often misses.