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Flood Control: Finance

Volume 474: debated on Thursday 3 April 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) pursuant to the answer of 13 March 2008, Official Report, column 400W, on what additional funding he is providing for the implementation of Sir Michael Pitt's recommendations beyond that allocated to the Environment Agency for flood defence work in 2008-09; (197750)

(2) how the figure of £34.5 million was decided upon as an initial provision needed to implement Sir Michael Pitt's recommendations;

(3) what budgetary provision has been made for financing the final recommendations of Sir Michael Pitt once they have been published;

(4) what steps his Department has taken to prepare to implement the final recommendations of Sir Michael Pitt in a timely manner once they have been published.

As announced by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in his written ministerial statement of 4 February 2008, Official Report, column 50WS, an initial provision of £34.5 million has been set aside to fund work arising from the Pitt Review. This decision was discussed at the EFRA Committee on 6 February 2008. Not all the recommendations from the review are expected to be for Government to address. The funding allocated so far will not necessarily cover all the recommendations, and is subject to further consideration. We will determine how this should be spent when we see Sir Michael's final report and the priorities it contains.

We look forward to Sir Michael's final report and recommendations. As always my Department stands ready to play its part in such actions as the Government subsequently decides.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions he has had with Natural England on opportunities for using land for water storage to prevent flooding elsewhere; and whether the single farm payment can be used for such purposes. (198106)

In areas where flood risk needs to be managed, a range of options are always considered, including flood storage. Suggestions that farmers be paid to store flood water and other novel approaches to flood risk management can be considered within Environment Agency Catchment Flood Management Plans. Such an approach would be welcome if it secured the necessary flood management benefits.