Supplementary Memorandum submitted by
the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the
The organogram is annexed.
2. Details of what has happened to planning
applications since the introduction of PPG25, and specifically
what happens when a local authority simply allows an application
in the face of advice about flooding risk.
Awareness of flood risk has been dramatically
raised by the publication of PPG25 which gives advice on how to
treat flood risk more systematically. Anecdotal evidence suggests
that local planning authorities are taking flood risk more seriously.
It is important that the Agency and local planning authorities
work closely together on this matter and achieve better outcomes
in the future than they have in the past.
The Agency will continue to collect evidence
on planning applications where development goes ahead against
its advice and report annually to Government under the High Level
Targets. The next report will cover the 12 month period from the
publication of PPG25.
Government policy on the calling in of planning
applications depends on whether the impact of the development
is likely to be of more than local significance. Call-in in these
circumstances is more likely to be considered appropriate if substantive
objection from the Agency is in prospect of being over-ruled by
the local planning authority without sufficient counter-balancing
With regard to Scotland, National Planning Policy
Guidance 7, Planning and Flooding (1995) requires that:
"Where the planning authority intend to
approve an application contrary to the advice of the Scottish
Environment Protection Agency that there is a risk of flooding,
the planning authority shall notify that application to the Secretary
of State who shall have 28 days to decide whether to call in the
application for his own decision."
3. Table setting out the finances relating
to flood prevention and flood defence including what has been
asked for against what has been delivered and promised.
Expenditure outturn and plans for flood and
coastal defence is provided below, together with a comparison
of the indicative requirements as identified in the research on
the National Appraisal of Assets at Risk. It must be emphasised
that the research results are based on incomplete data and significant
assumptions and therefore are only intended to provide indicative
results. It is also the case that capital flood and coastal defence
works can have lengthy lead times and the operating authorities
will need time to build up to increased programmes. The following
table starts at 2000-01 (which is the base year for the National
Appraisal report) and is a "best estimate" of the breakdown
between capital maintenance and other (eg flood warning, operational
costs) expenditure as detailed figures are not readily available.
FLOOD AND COASTAL DEFENCE EXPENDITURE
|* Indicative requirement to maintain current standards of defence, to improve to indicative standards in longer term and mitigate climate change impacts.
** Expenditure increased to carry out emergency repairs following the autumn 2000 floods.
The sources of funding for flood and coastal defence expenditure
are as follows:
|DEFRA (grant, Supplementary credit Approvals and contributions)
|DEFRA (Storm Tide Forecasting, R & D etc)
|DTLR funding delivered through local authorities
|* Includes contributions, as opposed to grant to the Environment Agency of:
|£9m||for emergency response and repair costs
|£3m||for special funding for feasibility and design costs
|£1.7m||for catchment flood management plans
|£1m||for flood warning public awareness campaign
|£0.8m||for other flood warning initiatives and the national flood and coastal defence database.
4. NOTE ON
In 1999 a review by the Advisory Committee on Research into
Flood and Coastal Defence recommended that the previously separate
flood and coastal defence research programmes of the Ministry
of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (as it was then called) and
the Environment Agency (EA) should be combined into a Joint Programme.
This arrangement was instituted for the current year 2001-02.
The programme has a budget of £3.8 million per annum
for 2001-02, with DEFRA contributing £2.6 million and the
EA £1.2 million. The budget will rise to £4.1 million
in 2002-03 with DEFRA contributing £2.6 million and EA £1.5
million. Funding in following years is subject to review under
the Spending Review 2002.
The DEFRA/EA Programme for Flood and Coastal Defence R &
D is set within a wider landscape of R & D expenditure. Collaborative
links and synergies are actively sought wherever possible to avoid
overlaps and increase value for money. Some examples are:
climate change is being researched through the
effects of changing land-use are of wide interest
links are frequently made with industry through CIRIA;
NERC has recent and current programmes such as the
LOIS and the LOCAR projects;
a combined £4.5 million NERC/EPSRC Floods programme
is planned for 2003-04; and
European Union projects (FP5 programme) are co-funded,
eg Wave Overtopping of Coastal Structure.
5. The number of river engineers in the Environment Agency
The Environment Agency has some 750 river and coastal engineers
working in flood risk management in England and Wales together
with over 500 engineers that are available from national capital
programme framework consultants. This does not take into account
the engineers employed by other consultants that are used periodically.
6. What improvements to flood warning systems will result
from the investment of £100 million on the next decade? Is
£100 million enough?
The current strategy for flood warning improvements (approved
in 2000) identified the following main outcomes:
improvements in coverage of the warning service
by identifying additional areas at risk and installing the necessary
systems to provide flood forecasts;
improved effectiveness of the system (through improved
instrumentation, improved links with the Met Office, better models
and more effective techniques for distributing warnings); and
a more effective response from those who received
warnings through improved liaison in emergency planning, emergency
exercises and public awareness campaigns.
This is to be achieved by investment in extending telemetry,
radar and other instrumentation; public awareness campaigns; local
flood plans and emergency exercises, supported by R & D.
The Agency is reviewing this strategy and some further requirements
have been identified, in particular the need for further investment
in telemetry improvements, weather radar, improved messaging systems
and improved modelling. The additional investment is intended
to improve the certainty with which an improved service can be
7. What plans do you have to ensure that the Automatic
Voice Messaging Service can provide more specific warnings? Would
it be possible to disseminate warnings tailored specifically,
say, to the risk of flooding in a particular postcode.
Technology and an appreciation of the needs of target audiences
will assist in improving the specificity of the direct warning
service. Emerging communications technologies such as e-mail,
Internet, SMS texting, pager, fax and digital TV/Radio will be
exploited. Research is underway to elucidate the needs of vulnerable
groups who are affected by flooding. Also liaison with community
groups will assist promotion, development and application of the
Since early December 2001, the Environment Agency has used
the Internet to disseminate 24-hour real time flood warnings to
the public. The site shows the real time flood warning situation
with the number, type of flood warnings in force and their location.
Users can search the site by town, postcode, river, warning status
and from a flood warning area map.
8. What is the latest statistical evidence of global warming?
To what extent have sea levels risen, the weather become warmer
and heavy downpours become more frequent?
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in their
2001 Summary for Policy makers identified the following evidence
20th Century surface temperature increase has
been 0.6+/- 0.2 degC;
surface temperature warming since 1979 has been 0.15
+/- 0.05 degC/decade; and
20th Century global average sea level rise has been
0.1 to 0.2 metres.
For precipitation specifically in the UK it has been suggested
that winter precipitation intensity has increased and summer precipitation
intensity decreased over the period 1961-95. Using longer records
which are less spatially representative the winter trend is maintained
whereas the summer is not, demonstrating the intrinsic variability
of weather systems. No coherent trends have been identified for
autumn or spring.
Following the autumn 2000 floods the Department commissioned
a research project to examine whether these floods could be attributed
to climate change. This work was carried out jointly by the Centre
for Ecology and Hydrology at Wallingford and the Met Office. They
concluded that these events were extreme but could not in themselves
be attributed to climate change. They noted, however, that heavy
rainfall and peak river flow of similar durations have been increasing
in frequency and magnitude over the last 50 years. They also stated
that this pattern is consistent with model predictions of how
human induced climate change is expected to affect rainfall but
it is not yet possible to say how far such events can be attributed
to climate change as opposed to natural variability.
14 December 2001
T J Osborn et al "Observed trends in the daily intensity
of UK precipitation" Int J Climatol. 20: 347-364 (2000). Back