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9 Oct 2008 : Column 726W—continued

Flood Control

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what opportunities exist for demonstration projects to develop solutions to downstream flooding problems; what criteria are in place for funding support either by his Department or the Environment Agency; and what particular assistance may be available to communities in the Gloucestershire area because of the floods in July 2007. [222399]

Hilary Benn: The Government's budget for flood management is targeted to achieve the maximum possible benefit. DEFRA guidance directs delivery bodies to consider all options at a catchment scale to reduce downstream flooding problems. In order to encourage the adoption of such projects at a local scale, on 4 July, I announced that £500,000 will be made available to fund a project to demonstrate how land management change can reduce downstream flooding. Outline proposals were invited by 29 August with a view to selecting a number of projects for more detailed assessment before committing funding for implementation. The criteria for this project are that:


9 Oct 2008 : Column 727W

In the meantime the Environment Agency is promoting and supporting catchment projects at a local level. For example, the Environment Agency recently assisted Water 21, an environmental organisation engaged by local residents, which was looking to secure funding for works in the wider Slad Brook catchment in Gloucestershire. The Environment Agency provided river and general catchment data, gave advice on the technical aspects of its work and guidance on proposed actions. The project covers a number of aspects including measures to reduce flooding downstream in Stroud.

The Environment Agency also has a proposal to construct a flood storage reservoir upstream of New Mills Trading Estate on the Slad Brook to reduce flooding in the town. The £500,000 proposal has recently been submitted to the Severn Trent Regional Flood Defence Committee for local funding in 2009-10. The project is competing against a number of other projects in the region and elsewhere. Funding is limited and the projects supported will be selected on their merits against the criteria above. We expect to make a decision in October on which project or projects will taken forward for further assessment before confirming funding for delivery in the new year.

Floods

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of flood defences in (a) Morpeth, (b) Pickering and (c) other areas affected by flooding in September 2008. [224196]

Hilary Benn: Current flood protection varies for different parts of Morpeth, but it is estimated that the average flood defence provides protection against a one in 60 year event. The Environment Agency is currently examining temporary emergency works that may be required.

The Environment Agency is currently at the end of year one (planning phase) of a four year programme to develop a new scheme to protect Morpeth. Early indications are that an investment of between £13 million and £15 million may be required. The Environment Agency is exploring an accelerated time scale for construction of the works.

There are currently no flood defences in Pickering. However the Environment Agency has recently supported a bid for funding to look at the possibility of reducing flows in the watercourse through tree planting in upland areas.

The following schemes are examples of where effective flood defence helped communities in the recent September flood event:


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As a matter of course the Environment Agency will be carrying out a full and systematic review of its assets. All flood defences that were tested will be inspected to ensure they meet the requirements of their design standard.

Floods: Freedom of Information

Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what information on areas subject to flood risk, held by the Environment Agency, is (a) freely available to the public and (b) purchasable from the Agency. [222868]

Hilary Benn: Environment Agency flood risk information can be requested under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and, in most cases, this will be free of charge.

Floods: Insurance

Jon Trickett: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the number of households which are not eligible for insurance against flooding; what steps the Government plan to take to assist such households; and if he will make a statement. [222509]

Hilary Benn: Flood insurance is included as standard for virtually all household insurance policies in the UK. We have no plans to subsidise flood insurance or act as an insurer of last resort, as it is unlikely to be sustainable or cost-effective for us to do so.

Floods: River Humber

Mr. Graham Stuart: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs who is responsible for the maintenance of flood defences on the north bank of the River Humber. [223792]

Hilary Benn: The following table shows the responsibility for the maintenance of flood defences on the north bank of the River Humber. It details the length in metres of flood defence protection in each flood area and the organisation responsible for its maintenance.


9 Oct 2008 : Column 729W
Area Responsibility Metres

Easington and Kilnsea

Environment Agency

6,744

Local authority (ERYC)

217

Private

320

Total

7,281

Skeffling

Environment Agency

4,754

Total

4,754

Sunk Island

Environment Agency Associated

2,374

Crown

6,025

Environment Agency and Crown

1,054

British Ports

2.382

Total

11,835

Stone Creek to Paull Holme Strays

Environment Agency

4,503

Crown

7,059

Total

11,562

Hull East (including Paull village)

Environment Agency

6,603

Local authority (Hull CC and ERYC)

1,875

Associated British Ports

1,736

Private

3,017

Total

13,231

Hull West

Environment Agency

178

Local authority (Hull CC)

309

Highways Agency

634

Private

6,834

Total

8,403

Hessle frontage

Local authority (ERYC)

1,578

Private

894

Total

2,472

North Ferriby

Environment Agency

60

Local authority (ERYC)

831

Railway

1,507

Private

774

Total

3,172

Brough

Environment Agency

8,640

Private

457

Total

9,097

Brough Haven to Weighton Lock

Associated British Ports

3,358

Private

144

Total

3,502

Weighton Lock to Boothferry Bridge

Environment Agency

21,733

Private

2,852

Total

24,585


Food Supply: Animal Feed

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the level of production for each (a) food stock and (b) animal feed stock type in (i) 2008, (ii) 2007, (iii) 2006, (iv) 2005 and (v) 2004; and if he will make a statement. [224149]

Hilary Benn: Information on the level of UK production of the major crop and livestock products for the calendar years 2004 to 2007, in thousand tonnes, which is published in “Agriculture in the United Kingdom”, is presented in
9 Oct 2008 : Column 730W
the following table. It should be noted that the figures for 2007 are provisional and 2008 data will not be published in full until around March 2009.

Certain items have food uses only i.e. fruit, vegetables, potatoes and all of the livestock products. Peas harvested dry and field beans are used for animal feed only. In the case of sugar beet and oilseed rape, these are processed to make sugar and oils respectively which are used for food and it is the by-products (pulp, molasses, meal/cake) which are used for animal feed. Cereals have a dual use for food and animal feed. The approximate proportions used within the food and animal feed sector are given in the second table.

Thousand tonnes
UK crop and livestock production (a) 2004( 1) 2005( 1) 2006( 1) 2007( 1)

Wheat (b)

15,473

14,863

14,735

13,137

Barley (b)

5,816

5,495

5,239

5,079

Oats (b)

627

532

728

712

Oilseed Rape (c)

1,607

1,898

1,890

2,108

Sugar Beet

9,042

8,687

7,400

7,525

Sugar (c)

1,390

1,341

1,157

1,164

Peas for harvesting dry (d)

176

156

122

80

Field beans (d)

661

705

617

375

Fresh vegetables (e)

2,591

2,737

2,650

2,526

Fresh fruit (e)

294

363

392

398

Potatoes (e)

6,246

5,979

5,727

5,635

Milk - volume for human consumption (e)

13,930

13,839

13,714

13,443

Hen eggs (e)

892

884

853

825

Cattle and calves beef and veal (e)

2,361

2,409

2,702

2,723

Pigs and pigmeat (e)

8,841

8,709

8,731

9,084

Sheep and lambs mutton and lamb (e)

15,493

16,539

16,590

15,979

Poultry and poultrymeat (e)

882

903

880

871

(1) Provisional
(a) These figures only relate to UK production and do not include imports or exports.
(b) Wheat, barley and oats can be used for both food and animal feed.
(c) The by-products from these industries are used in the manufacture of animal feed.
(d) Used within the animal feed sector only.
(e) Used within the food sector only.

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