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Flood Control

Volume 485: debated on Tuesday 16 December 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) with reference to the answer of 27 October 2008, Official Report, column 614W, on flood control, what the (a) original and (b) most recently projected completion date of each flood protection scheme in each of the last five years is; and what the reasons are for the differences in each case; (242712)

(2) what the original completion date was for each of the Environment Agency's flood defence projects undertaken in the last five years; and what the latest expected completion date is in each case.

From 2004 to 2008 the Environment Agency's National Capital Programme Management Service was responsible for a total of 146 completed flood management projects. Of these, 83 were completed early or on time and 44 were completed within two months of the expected completion date. 19 projects were delayed by two months or more.

Information is not available for projects completed before 2004.

In most cases the projects are operational and protect houses before the final completion date of the construction works. For schemes completed within two months of the target date, the delays have been attributed to:

Poor weather conditions

High/low river flows

Planning permission

Legislative changes

Environmental permitting

A list of the schemes delayed for more than two months, including the original and expected/actual completion dates and the reasons for the delay, where available, have been placed in the Libraries of the House.


Completion date


St. Ives and Hemingsfords


Increased scope due to additional works required by the customer.

Alexander Docks


An additional lock possession was required by the Ports Authority delaying the project by eight months.

Bawdsey Sea Defences


An increased level of environmental assessment was required, this coupled with poor weather conditions delayed the project.

River Mersey FAS


Changes in the design during the construction phase delayed the project.

Regional Flood Warning Telemetry


High level of public interest led to delays in gaining planning permission for this project.

Maldon—Wisemans Quay


This project started late due to contractor commitments, delaying the completion of this project.

South East Weather Radar


This project was delayed due to the timescales involved in procuring the radar from the United States.

Lewes Mallingsbrook FAS


The works involved considerable interface with existing services and suffered some delay from integrating project work with the utility companies carrying out diversions. The scheme was also set a very challenging target completion to respond to commitments given following the 2000 floods.

Lydney Harbour


Delay due to the tidal working conditions and obtaining approval for the works from English Nature.

Eastern Rother—Robertsbridge FAS


The proximity of the scheme to a large superstore delayed works as we needed to minimise the impact on the store and a large number of hypodermic needles buried in the soil delayed works while a method of dealing with them was found.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many flood defence projects have been postponed in each of the last three years; and what the reasons were in each case. (242794)

DEFRA has overall policy responsibility for flood risk management and provides funding for schemes to Operating Authorities (Environment Agency, local authorities and Internal Drainage Boards). The funding for flood risk has been administered by the Environment Agency since April 2006. Information on potential projects is collected from operating authorities and the Environment Agency decides which projects to promote and their timing to meet the targets set by DEFRA. Since the projects are not formally approved until funding is confirmed none will have been postponed or have had their commencement delayed.