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[holding answer 26 July 2007]: The Environment Agency (EA) have received £5.9 million
in total in relation to flood risk management work (including flood defences) over the last 10 years from the European Union (EU) and will continue to look at the possibility of applications to the EU for flood defence.
|Project name||Project topic||Amount received by Environment Agency in EU grant/£( 1)||Source of EU funding|
|(1 )Grant received in euro but amount converted to sterling for reporting here. The money was received in the form of EU funding grants awarded to projects that the EA were involved in either as a partner or a lead partner. The EA have only included here the amount of ED funding received by the Environment Agency for their own work.|
Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether he has made an application to the European Solidarity Fund for funding for areas of England affected by recent flooding. 
No such application has yet been made as we are currently collecting all the information necessary for us to assess the full financial effect of the damage caused by the June and July floods before deciding whether such an application could meet the strict criteria laid down for mobilising the Fund.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much the Environment Agency spent on (a) capital expenditure and (b) expenditure on maintenance in relation to flood defence in each of the last three years; and if he will make a statement. 
Jonathan Shaw: The figures reflect Environment Agency spend on flood risk management funded by DEFRA and exclude spend funded from other sources (e.g. levies on local authorities, beneficiary contributions, charges). Capital figures reflect spend on new and improved capital measures to reduce flood risk, including on flood warning infrastructure. Maintenance figures reflect spend on maintenance of existing assets. Other Flood Risk Management (FRM) spend covers the cost of delivering flood warning services, flood mapping, development control, data management such as the National Flood and Coastal Defence Database, regional flood defence committees and other associated costs such as investment in and provision of information systems (IS), accommodation and overheads.
The additional spend in 2005-06 was largely funded from financial balances. These had been held by
Regional Flood Defence Committees to meet the cost of unforeseen events such as severe flooding, as at the time the Agencys spend on flood risk management was largely funded from levies on local authorities. Since 2004, this spend has primarily been funded by DEFRA and such balances are no longer maintained.
The Environment Agency is the principal operating authority with responsibility for flood risk management in England. However, Government-funded works are also carried out by local authorities and, in areas with special drainage needs, internal drainage boards. The Agency incurs spend on other activities related to flood risk management such as operational costs, advising on plans for new development.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will instigate an immediate review of the Environment Agency's planned expenditure on (a) capital projects and (b) regular maintenance in respect of flood defence in each of the next three years. 
Jonathan Shaw: The Environment Agency produces annual Medium Term Plans setting out their proposed flood risk management capital schemes for the following five years. This year's exercise is due to be completed in the autumn and will be reviewed by the Department. It will inform targets and funding allocations for the 2007 Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR07) period (2008-09 to 2010-11).
The Environment Agency currently develop a maintenance programme each year based on their assessment of the condition of its flood defences. Outcome Measures for flood risk management have recently been defined and it is anticipated that these will be used to set targets progressively during the CSR07 period, starting with the capital programme in 2008-09 and extending to maintenance and other flood risk management activities from 2009-10. This should enable a direct comparison of, and more efficient allocation between, capital and maintenance works.
The legislative framework for internal drainage board (IDB) funding is the Land Drainage Act 1991. Under the Act, there are three
mechanisms by which IDBs can receive public funding to support their flood risk management and associated activities.
IDBs may impose special levies on local authorities (district and unitary authorities) to fund their work in the district. This is not permissive (or discretionary) expenditure and the levies must be paid. Relevant councils do sit on the IDBs and while these members are not appointed to represent local authority interests on the IDB, they are in a position to have some influence on the sums raised through special levies.
For the purposes of rating, properties are divided into (a) agricultural land and buildings and (b) other land (such as domestic houses, factories, shops etc). Occupiers of all "other land" pay council tax or non-domestic rates to the local council who then are charged by the Board under the special levy arrangements above. The Board, therefore, only imposes drainage rates direct on agricultural land and buildings.
The basis of this is that each property has been allotted an "annual value" which were last revised in the early 1990s. The annual value is an amount equal to the yearly rent, or the rent that might be reasonably expected if let on a tenancy from year to year commencing 1 April 1988.
The annual value remains the same from year to year. Each year the Board lays a rate in the £ to meet its estimated expenditure. This is multiplied by the annual value to produce the amount of drainage rate due on each assessment. A breakdown of the rate in the £ is shown on the reverse of the demand note to show how money is spent.
Mr. Woolas: The following table shows details of public funding allocated to internal drainage boards (IDBs) in each year from 1999-2000. Figures prior to this year are not held centrally by DEFRA. Please note that not all income is included in the 2005-06 figure.
|Income received by internal drainage boards|
|Agricultural drainage rates( 1)||Special levies( 2)||EA cont( 3)||Devp cont( 4)||Other beneficiary contributions( 5)||Government grant( 6)||Loans received( 7)||Other( 8)||Total|
|(1) Agricultural drainage rates collected by the IDB from agricultural land and buildings within the drainage district.|
(2) Special levies collected by the IDBlocal authorities pay special levies to internal drainage boards which fall entirely or partly within their boundaries to take account of works the boards do in relation to flood risk management, for example in urban areas.
(3) Contributions from the Environment Agency.
(4) Contributions from developers.
(5) Contributions from other beneficiaries.
(6) Government grantDEFRA funds individual capital improvement projects promoted by IDBs subject to relevant economic, social, environmental and prioritisation criteria.
(7) Loans raised from the public works loans board to fund balance of grant costs etc.
(8) All other income (including contributions from local authorities, income from rechargeable works undertaken for others, and interests received on deposits).
In financial year 2005-06, not all information on income and expenditure was collected centrally by DEFRA. As such the figure represented in the total column does not equal all income received by IDBs in that financial year.
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