John Redwood continues to press for information on flood defence improvement

In view of fears about more flooding in the coming months, John Redwood has asked the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when the Environment Agency will announce its new plans for the improvement of flood defences, and what the current state of the EA-maintained flood defence infrastructure is.

In a written answer received today, Mr Redwood has been told that the EA’s proposals for the improvement of flood defences will not be announced until February 2008, pending a review of its business plans in light of the Comprehensive Spending Review.

According to the latest figures for EA-maintained flood defence infrastructure, only 55% of raised walls and embankments are in a good or better condition. For other defences such as sluices and outfalls, this figure is a slightly higher 69%.

For the questions in full, see below.

<strong>Mr. Redwood: </strong>To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) when the Environment Agency will announce its new plans for the improvement of flood defences; [161944]

(2) what recent assessment the Environment Agency has made of the present condition of flood defences for which they are responsible. [161945]

<strong>Mr. Woolas: </strong>The Environment Agency is currently reviewing its business plans for 2008-09 in light of the recent Comprehensive Spending Review settlement. It will announce its proposals for the improvement of flood defences in February 2008.

The Environment Agency currently inspects assets on a risk based programme and assesses the national position on a quarterly basis.

The proportion (by length) of flood defences such as raised walls and embankments, maintained by the Environment Agency that were in good or better condition in April 2007 was 55 per cent. A further 40 per cent. were in a fair condition.

The proportion (by number) of flood defence structures, such as sluices and outfalls, maintained by the Environment Agency that were in good or better condition in April 2007 was 69 per cent. A further 26 per cent. were in a fair condition.

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    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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