Rivers authorities

Part of Rivers Authorities and Land Drainage Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:30 pm on 11th March 2019.

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Photo of David Warburton David Warburton Conservative, Somerton and Frome 3:30 pm, 11th March 2019

My hon. Friend is precisely right. It is about planning for the future, and sustainability in the Somerset Rivers Authority. At the moment, it lives from hand to mouth and the local authority pays it voluntarily. Although £2.5 million of taxpayers’ money goes into it, it has no certainty about whether that will continue in five years, three years and so on. The Bill provides that certainty and the safety that the residents of Somerset deserve.

As I said, if there are gaps in the local plan, the rivers authority must publish a plan of proposed additional flood risk management work, which must supplement the work that existing risk management authorities have already planned to carry out. That will help ensure that work is not left for a rivers authority to pick up on another body’s behalf. The rivers authority can then either fund a relevant risk management authority to do the additional work, or contract someone else to carry out the work on its behalf.