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Flood Defences

Volume 471: debated on Thursday 31 January 2008

We are improving protection from river and sea flooding and coastal erosion, and are on course to achieving protection for more than 180,000 households since 2003.

I welcome my right hon. Friend’s answer. He will realise, or perhaps I can inform him, that at Fazeley the flooding bank was raised back to design level after flooding. At Elford, a new pump was put in to replace the defunct one after flooding. We await the Tame valley study, as part of the Greater Humber strategy, to see how many other weak points we have. Will he give us an assurance that there will be no redundancies or staff lay-offs and no reduction in the Environment Agency until that work is completed? Will he write to me with a date when we can expect the Tame valley study to be complete?

I will happily write to my hon. Friend about the River Tame study, because it will look at whether the design levels—for the Tamworth and the Fazeley defences—are still appropriate, and if not what possible solutions can be undertaken. On the resources available to the Environment Agency to work on flood defences, as he will know, the budget has doubled in the past 10 years from £300 million to £600 million a year, and it will increase further. That means that the agency will have more money to spend on more flood defence works.