Business of the House

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 11:02 am on 9th May 2019.

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Photo of John Hayes John Hayes Conservative, South Holland and The Deepings 11:02 am, 9th May 2019

T.S. Eliot said:

“Knowledge is invariably a matter of degree”.

That was brought home again this morning when the Environment Agency predicted that many coastal areas, including much of South Holland and The Deepings, are at imminent risk of flooding. That is curious, given that for at least two decades the Environment Agency has predicted flood risk so inaccurately.

Floods have taken place everywhere, from Tewkesbury to Carlisle and from Stratford-upon-Avon to Gloucester, yet none of those has appeared on the Environment Agency’s flood risk maps. The Environment Agency seems to ignore both internal drainage and the reality of flooding, and it seems to me that its knowledge of real flood risk is a matter of question.

Will the Leader of the House arrange for a debate on how such agencies can be brought to account? I am thinking of Network Rail cutting down trees, of Natural England ignoring the stewardship of the countryside and now of the Environment Agency alarming and distressing very large numbers of my constituents. These people should be held to account by this House and be answerable to Ministers.