Flood Defences

Oral Answers to Questions — Environment, Food and Rural Affairs – in the House of Commons at 10:30 am on 24th June 2010.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Grahame Morris Grahame Morris Labour, Easington 10:30 am, 24th June 2010

What estimate she has made of her Department's expenditure on flood defences in 2010-11.

Watch this
Embed this video

Copy and paste this code on your website

Hide

Photo of Caroline Spelman Caroline Spelman The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

DEFRA's estimate of its expenditure in 2010 to 2011 on flood and coastal erosion risk management is currently £664 million. This does not include local authority expenditure, estimated at £87 million, which is funded by Government through the formula grant.

Watch this

Photo of Grahame Morris Grahame Morris Labour, Easington

In welcoming the new ministerial team to the Front Bench, may I point out that on 23 March last year Nick Herbert, the then shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, said that it was

"essential that the Government takes a strong lead and implements the key recommendations from the Pitt review" on flood defences. This was at a time when Labour was committed to protecting flood defence expenditure, which is very important in the north-east-in Morpeth and Carlisle-in view of the recent floods. Will cuts to her Department mean that key recommendations from the Pitt review will not now be implemented?

Watch this

Photo of Caroline Spelman Caroline Spelman The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

I can give the hon. Gentleman an absolute assurance, because the coalition agreement states our commitment to taking forward the findings of the Pitt review on the 2007 floods. We are considering how best to put this into effect, against the difficult spending background, and as he will have heard earlier from my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, this year, because the Environment Agency was ahead of the game with the amount of flood defences it had provided, there is no question of this important front-line service being compromised. In the spending review we will of course give priority to flood defences.

Watch this

Photo of Damian Collins Damian Collins Conservative, Folkestone and Hythe

The Secretary of State will be aware of the importance of the investment in sea defences in my constituency at Dymchurch, the Romney Marsh coast and Dungeness. May I ask that she continues to give consideration to the importance of that work when reviewing the budget in the future?

Watch this

Photo of Caroline Spelman Caroline Spelman The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

My hon. Friend will not know this, but Dymchurch and Hythe have a special place in my heart because as a small girl I used to enjoy my summer holidays taking the light railway to such places. So I perfectly understand the importance of defending that part of the Kent coast with effective coastal defences.

Watch this