Skip to main content

Flood Recovery Framework

Volume 746: debated on Monday 4 March 2024

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his question. I am pleased to report that the review of the flood recovery framework has already begun and I expect the work to be completed by autumn this year. We will, of course, update Parliament in the usual way when that review is completed.

My constituent Lucy owns Ride Leisure Events on Wyboston Lakes, which flooded again during Storm Henk. She cannot get insurance and her business is not entitled to compensation under the flood recovery framework because of the Government’s arbitrary decision to expect cash-strapped councils to cover the cost if fewer than 50 properties are impacted. It is very unfair that my constituent has fallen through the safety net. She will not be the only one, with property in Kempston regularly affected by flooding. Will the Minister crack that anomaly in the framework and help my constituent save her business?

I am sorry to hear about that case, and if the hon. Gentleman wishes to write to me giving details of the business, I will of course look into it. As for Storm Henk, 2,241 properties have been identified as eligible for grant support. That covers 16 upper-tier local authorities, and to date payments of £788,743 have been reported by authorities to impacted householders and businesses. There always has to be a rubric in these cases, and this issue will be considered during the flood recovery framework review, on which, as I have said, we will report back to the House. However, the offer is there: if the hon. Gentleman wishes to write to me, I will happily look at what he has to say.

Whiston has been flooded repeatedly over the past decade, and there is a huge ongoing issue, but Rotherham council recently approved the building of 450 new homes there. Whiston Parish Council, which is independently aligned and thus not party political, called a special public meeting about the plans, which show water running uphill—which I believe it does not do—and floodwater draining into a non-existent stream. This surely demonstrates that Rotherham Council does not understand the issue of flooding. Does my right hon. Friend agree that all councils, including Rotherham, have a responsibility not to build on floodplains?

My hon. Friend has raised an important issue. Between them, the local planning authority and the Environment Agency should always find the most appropriate sites for development and take hydrology and water management into consideration. The Minister for Housing, Planning and Building Safety, my hon. Friend the Member for North East Derbyshire (Lee Rowley), will have heard what my hon. Friend has said, and may contact him in due course.