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Flood Control

Volume 470: debated on Tuesday 8 January 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what progress has been made on implementing (a) a more holistic approach, (b) better management of risk, (c) land use planning, (d) integrated urban drainage management and (e) addressing coastal issues, as set out in Making Space for Water; and if he will make a statement. (171155)

The Environment Agency has strategic overview of all flood and coastal erosion risk management. The coastal role has been announced and the role for inland flooding is being developed.

A range of projects ensure better management of risk, including improving and extending risk mapping and broadening approaches to risk management beyond the provision of defences.

The Department for Communities and Local Government (CLG) published Planning Policy Statement 25, (Development and Flood Risk) in 2006. The Environment Agency became a statutory consultee on planning applications where flood risk is an issue and the Secretary of State for CLG can call in applications where the planning authority is minded to approve an application against sustained Environment Agency objections.

DEFRA will review approaches to urban drainage as part of its new water strategy. This will take account of the independent Pitt review of the summer flooding and the 15 integrated urban drainage pilot studies taking place around the country.

Further work is also taking place in developing tools to help coastal and other communities adapt to the challenges of climate change.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether his Department provides guidance to local authorities on standards of flood proofing for private properties; and if he will make a statement. (171964)

The Government provide guidance to local authorities, among others, on standards of flood-proofing for private properties. Details are available via the DEFRA website and the planning portal.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the lowest economic rate of return is for an approved flood defence project; and how many unapproved projects for which calculations had been made the projected rate of return was equal to or higher than that figure. (173539)

The lowest ratio of economic benefits to cost for ongoing projects (excluding those exempt from prioritisation due to legal or other requirements) is 6.3. Medium term plan returns for all flood management operating authorities have recently been collated by the Environment Agency and these include 39 projects with a benefit to cost ratio in excess of this not currently approved for funding. It should be noted that the benefit cost ratio is only one of the issues considered in prioritising projects for funding and that the medium term plan includes projects in different stages of development, intended for funding up to 10 years into the future.