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Flood Control

Volume 487: debated on Monday 9 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the contribution the Leader programme may make to reducing flood risk; what the budget for the next three years is; what type of project is eligible for consideration under the programme, and what criteria have to be met; and if he will make a statement. (253434)

The Leader approach is a delivery mechanism for the Rural Development Programme for England 2007-2013. It is a method of harnessing local knowledge to enable a bottom-up, community-led approach to the delivery of funding in rural areas. The Leader approach is being implemented through local action groups, which represent public and private partners and local interest groups covering broad sectors of the local society and economy.

Local action groups are implementing local development strategies setting out their plans for their areas, including selection criteria for local projects. The regional development agencies are responsible for the overall management of the delivery of the Leader approach.

A minimum of 5 per cent. of the EU funds within the Rural Development Programme for England will be spent through Leader. This means a minimum of £105 million across the country until 2013.

Reduction of flood risk has not been identified as a national priority for Rural Development funding. However, individual local action groups may have identified environmental management activity as a priority for them and within that there is scope for small-scale interventions to encourage community engagement in flood management.