Orders of the Day — Civil Defence (Grant) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 7:49 pm on 28th November 2001.

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Photo of Peter Luff Peter Luff Opposition Whip (Commons) 7:49 pm, 28th November 2001

I am glad that I gave way to my hon. Friend, as I always am. He makes a powerful point. There is a desperate need to overhaul and reform the structure of flooding policy, which is bewildering and confusing to us all. An earlier Select Committee report found some 240 different authorities and agencies involved in one way or another with flooding issues. The classic division is between the Environment Agency, district councils, county councils and water companies. There is a need to ensure proper co-ordination. That makes the provisions of the Bill so much sadder for me. I am sorry that the Minister has fallen for the line sold by others. I hope that he will listen to the wise words of Worcestershire county council and even at this late stage withdraw the Bill and reintroduce it later as part of a more comprehensive solution to the problems that we face.