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Contingency Planning (Floods)

Volume 498: debated on Wednesday 28 October 2009

8. What recent discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on the work of the Civil Contingencies Secretariat natural hazards team in relation to contingency planning for floods. (295985)

I know that the hon. Lady has a great interest in this matter and is concerned, as we all are, that the recommendations of the Pitt review that followed the 2007 floods be implemented swiftly. To this end, the natural hazards team in the Cabinet Office has been established and is developing a programme to reduce the disruption to critical infrastructure and essential services that caused so much suffering during those floods. A statement of policy is being developed with local authorities, regulators and the relevant industries. A wider consultation on this will follow in November and no doubt Members on both sides of the House will wish to engage in this. The—

Order. We have got the drift. Let us have the supplementary question. I call Miss Anne McIntosh.

The Government promised to have undertaken a national assessment of all the critical infrastructure at risk by the beginning of this year. Why have they failed to do so and why have they let down those households that were flooded in 2007?

The hon. Lady is not correct; a lot of work has already been undertaken in establishing the basis for the wider consultation, including discussions with the regulators, local authorities and other relevant industries. Wider consultation with the public will take place in November, after which the policy statement setting out how such humanitarian crises will be avoided in the future will be published.