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Severn Barrage

Volume 483: debated on Tuesday 18 November 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether she has provided guidance to planning authorities on the potential impact of a Severn Barrage on flooding in the south west and south Wales. (235333)

A cross-Government study is assessing the feasibility of harnessing the tidal power of the Severn Estuary. Impacts of a power generation scheme on flooding issues are being addressed in the Strategic Environmental Assessment commissioned by the study. The feasibility study is scheduled to report during 2010. Given this, no planning guidance for authorities in the South West and Wales has been issued concerning the potential impact of any such development in the Severn Estuary.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what responsibilities the Homes and Communities Agency will have for assessing the risk of flooding arising from the construction of a Severn Barrage. (235334)

Homes and Communities Agency would have no role in relation to flood risk assessment for any Severn Barrage. This would be the responsibility of whoever builds it, with the Environment Agency taking a keen interest given its statutory role in relation to planning and flood risk.

HCA’s role with regard to flood risk assessment would be that set out in “PPS25: Development and Flood Risk”. For any development it planned, it would have to carry out a flood risk assessment. The HCA will develop its own flood risk/flood adaptation policy building on EP’s best practice guidance note covering PPS25 and building on EP’s work on sustainable urban drainage systems.

HCA will also seek to develop strong and early relationships with the Environment Agency to ensure that they are involved at both a strategic level and locally where flood risk or water availability is an issue.