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Volume 477: debated on Thursday 19 June 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the level of public awareness of the need for flood kits and practical home improvements in case of a flood; and if he will make a statement. (211899)

According to DEFRA’s own research, only about one-third of flooded households and less than one in 10 non-flooded households have taken any measures to mitigate the effects of flooding and very few have purchased protection measures for their home.

DEFRA has funded six pilots (at a cost of £500,000) to examine the feasibility of developing a grant scheme for householders on flood resilience. These pilots have just completed and we are expecting their final reports in the near future.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what progress has been made on the implementation of a telephone flood warning scheme; and if he will make a statement. (211901)

The Environment Agency has delivered a telephone flood warning service since 1996. Floodline Warnings Direct (FWD), implemented in 2006, sends flood warnings by telephone, fax, text, pager, or e-mail to customers registered on the system.

This system is supported by the Floodline service, operational since 1999, which provides the public with an alternative telephone route to gaining localised flooding information.

Since June 2007, 73,390 people have registered with FWD. The total number of people now registered on the system is 328,336.

The Pitt Review interim report recommended that the Environment Agency should work urgently with telecommunications companies to roll-out ‘opt-out’ telephone flood warning schemes to all homes and businesses liable to flooding, including ex-directory households.

The Environment Agency is working closely with British Telecom and Ofcom to progress efforts to transfer data from the Emergency Services Database to Flood Warnings Direct. This database has been identified as the most appropriate information source to deliver an ‘opt-out’ approach for Flood Warnings Direct.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the timetable is for the development of the (a) draft and (b) final National Flood Emergency Framework. (211904)

DEFRA is preparing the timetable and a project plan with support from the civil contingencies secretariat (CCS) with a view to implementing a National Framework for flooding over the coming two years.

While an initial document is expected to be ready to share before the end of the year, the timetable has yet to be finalised. We must ensure that not only a document is produced, but moreover, that each attribute of the framework is delivered during this time frame.