Flooding Update - Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:46 pm on 25th February 2020.

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Photo of Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park The Minister of State, Department for International Development, The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Minister of State 3:46 pm, 25th February 2020

I thank the noble Baroness for her question. On her first point, there has been continuous dialogue between Defra officials, Environment Agency officials and their counterparts in Wales and Scotland. We have seen an extraordinary coming together of the various agencies—the fire service, the police, the Environment Agency, local authorities and volunteers—and that collaboration and co-operation will clearly need to continue. On her broader point about tree-planting targets, we will be publishing a tree strategy in the coming months and a flood strategy will be published around springtime. We are very keen to ensure that those two strategies are not developed entirely in isolation. Inevitably, part of the answer to the flood strategy will be found in the tree strategy, and it is very important that when we honour that 30,000-hectare commitment, we do so in a way that solves as many problems as possible. We should not aim only for carbon absorption, which is merely one of the benefits of planting trees in the way that we have committed to do.