Flood Defences

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs – in the House of Commons on 4th March 2021.

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Photo of Mark Garnier Mark Garnier Chair, Committees on Arms Export Controls, Chair, Committees on Arms Export Controls

What progress he is making on the construction of flood defences.

Photo of Rebecca Pow Rebecca Pow The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

This month will see the completion of the Government’s six-year £2.6 billion investment programme to deliver over 1,000 flood schemes, better protecting 300,000 homes from flooding. Starting in April, the Government will invest £5.2 billion in a six-year investment programme to deliver 2,000 flood schemes, protecting 336,000 properties from flooding. Alongside this programme, a further £170 million will be invested to accelerate work on 22 shovel-ready projects for defence schemes, and construction on these will begin from March 2022.

Photo of Mark Garnier Mark Garnier Chair, Committees on Arms Export Controls, Chair, Committees on Arms Export Controls

I thank the Minister for that response and also for meeting me and the Environment Agency yesterday. As she knows, Bewdley in my constituency has suffered from two once-in-100-year floods in the last 18 months alone. While the western bank of the River Severn is protected by impressive demountable flood barriers, the eastern bank, known as Beales Corner, has been protected just by temporary barriers and by property-level resilience, and this year the temporary barriers collapsed catastrophically and the property-level resilience all but failed. The Minister is very familiar with Bewdley, having kindly visited last year during the flooding, and she knows that the Environment Agency is working up plans to provide a permanent solution to floods at Beales Corner, but can she promise me that she will work with me, the Environment Agency and the residents of Beales Corner to deliver on the pledge made by the Prime Minister when he visited Bewdley last year that we will finally “get Bewdley done”?

Photo of Rebecca Pow Rebecca Pow The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

As my hon. Friend knows, I was very sorry to hear of the flooding of the 19 properties at Beales Corner on 22 January, when the temporary flood defences failed. He kept well in touch with me on that at the time, and we have since met, as he said, which I was pleased, and always am pleased, to do. I give him an assurance that the Environment Agency is working really hard with the local authority and partners—and indeed with him—to develop the business case for a permanent flood scheme at Beales Corner. He knows that I take a very close interest, from a ministerial perspective, in this and all areas relating to it, including just working out how it will be possible and the funding options. I urge him to keep up the good work that he is doing in Bewdley.