Agriculture: Flood Control

Environment Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 5th February 2008.

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Photo of Laurence Robertson Laurence Robertson Shadow Minister (Northern Ireland)

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what financial assistance is available to farmers to enable them to clear ditches and other watercourses for which they are responsible; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Phil Woolas Phil Woolas Minister of State (Environment), Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

holding answer 31 January 2008

The flood risk operating authorities (Environment Agency, local authorities and, in areas of special drainage need, internal drainage boards) undertake prioritised programmes of maintenance work on watercourses, including cleaning and dredging where appropriate. Otherwise responsibility for clearance lies with the land owner.

Total central and local government spend on management of flood and coastal erosion risk will be some £600 million this year, rising incrementally to £800 million in 2010-11. This is invested primarily in works on the ground carried out by the aforementioned operating authorities.

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Posted on 6 Feb 2008 12:40 pm (Report this annotation)

A friend of mine is a former Council worker who was employed (along with other work) to keep the county drains, ditches and water ways clear. This was done well and systematically. Then the council thought that they would be clever and save money by laying off these employees and use private firms (who it appears are only interested in making profit) and since then ditches etc have been neglected to our cost.
These private firms should be investigated and where applicable sued for failure of contract. This is the duty of our MPs to follow through. We shall be watching developments.