(2) what legislative authority he has to fund local authorities to restore cliff slippages that threaten (a) rail and (b) road links; and if he will make a statement;
(3) what recent (a) meetings he has had with and (b) representations he has received from Southend borough council on cliff slippages that threaten (i) rail and (ii) road links; what the (A) location and (B) duration was of each meeting; whether a record of each meeting was kept; who attended each meeting; and if he will make a statement;
(4) what research has been (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated by his Department on cliff slippages that threaten (i) rail and (ii) road links in the last 10 years; and if he will make a statement.
The Department for Transport provided £1 million funding to Southend borough council in January 2008 for highway repairs to prevent damage occurring to rail and road links from a cliff slippage. The Department for Transport met with officials from the authority and their consultant prior to the submission of a business case by the authority seeking this funding. No record was made of the meeting which took place in Southend.
The funding for this highway maintenance scheme will be provided under Section 31 of Local Government Act 2003.
The Department for Transport has not conducted any specific research on cliff slippages that threaten rail and road links. The Highways Agency continues to monitor and provide support on research conducted on chalk cliff stability. Current research is of a localised nature—e.g. cliff monitoring initiatives being carried out in the Brighton and Hove District. The Highways Agency has identified that there may be future collaboration opportunities for research in this field available through the INTERREG programme (interested parties include Brighton and Hove City council, Brighton University, Leeds University and Chalk Rock Ltd).
Government resilience policy for events which result from incidents of instability are a matter for the Department for Communities and Local Government (CLG). Southend borough council have not discussed cliff stabilisation issues with CLG recently.