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Flood Control: Finance

Volume 488: debated on Wednesday 25 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for what reasons (a) the right for regional flood defence committees to decide spending priorities will be replaced by a national Government block grant which will decide which area is to receive funding for flood defence and (b) the Environment Agency will decide nationally where such money is spent and which defences are of strategic priority. (257029)

DEFRA makes a national allocation of Flood Defence Grant in Aid, which the Environment Agency is then responsible for allocating to each of its Regional Flood Defence Committees.

The allocation of funding is done on a national basis to ensure consistency and so that the available funding is used most effectively. Capital schemes are prioritised based on the practical consequences that will result from the flood defence measures they provide.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much his Department has spent on flood risk management plans (a) in each year since 1997 and (b) in 2008-09 to date; and how much was budgeted for such expenditure in each period. (257664)

The Government are committed to effective management of flood and coastal erosion risk and some £4.5 billion has been invested across England in total since 1996-97.

Spending across central and local government has increased from £307 million in 1996-97 to some £650 million this year and will increase to a total of £2.15 billion over the three years of the Spending Review.

The following table shows past and expected future expenditure on flooding and coastal erosion risk management.

Figures for 1996-07 to 2007-08 are actual figures based on outturns; figures for 2008-09 onwards are budgets or estimates.

£ million

Financial year

DEFRA funding

LA funding

2010-11

2697

87

2009-10

2633

87

2008-09

563

87

2007-08

507.5

1100.6

2006-07

506.0

84.5

2005-06

514.8

84.4

2004-05

415.4

80.3

2003-04

135.5

322

2002-03

128.4

299.4

2001-02

84.7

281.4

2000-01

71.4

262.7

1999-2000

75.5

246.6

1998-99

78.3

233.2

1997-98

87.1

223.3

1996-97

101.9

205.2

1 Expenditure following the 2007 floods may explain why local authority spending was considerably higher in 2007-08 than in previous years. The figures for future local authority expenditure are as previously forecast, although it is for local authorities to decide how much to spend on flood risk management as budgets are not ring-fenced for the purpose.

2 As announced in the 2008 pre-Budget report, £20 million has been brought forward from 2010-11 into 2009-10 as part of the fiscal stimulation package. This reduces the 2010-11 budget from £804 million to £784 million, with 2009-10 increasing from £700 million to £720 million.

From 2004-05 the money previously given to LAs for expenditure on flood risk management was largely brought together to form a central grant to the Environment Agency.

DEFRA flood and coastal erosion risk management budgets for the current year are on track and as forecast, subject to the recent bad weather.

Figures on budgeted expenditure for each year from 1996-97 are not available without disproportionate cost.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs over what period he expects funds allocated for response measures following the Pitt report on flooding to be spent. (257665)

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to the hon. Member for Vale of York (Miss McIntosh) on 13 January 2009, Official Report, column 600W.