Flooding (England)

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Home Department – in the House of Commons at 3:31 pm on 9th July 2007.

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Photo of Tony Baldry Tony Baldry Conservative, Banbury 3:31 pm, 9th July 2007

At the present moment, the Environment Agency has to allocate funds competitively among schemes in very large areas. That means that a town such as Banbury, which has the River Cherwell and the Oxford canal going through it, and has had a scheme worked up for some time, suddenly discovers that although it is still at risk—weather patterns are changing, as Mr. Prescott said—it is losing out because the Environment Agency thinks that there is a higher priority scheme in the Thames Gateway. I support what my right hon. Friend Mr. Curry said. When this has settled a bit, could the funding of flood defences be considered on a cross-party basis? Under the current system, local government does not seem to be able to make much of a contribution, we are all dependent on going to the Treasury cap in hand, and a lot of communities are starting to feel very vulnerable.