Select Committee on Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Written Evidence

Memorandum submitted by Chris Huhne MP (FL MP 05)

  I am writing in response to the letter from your chairman Michael Jack MP of 24th July, and your timely examination of flooding. My constituency has thankfully not been affected, but I visited Hull and Oxford at different times to see the problems for myself as part of my portfolio responsibilities.

  I think the key issues are

    (a)  coordination of flood defences, prevention and warning across all the current agencies and particularly the failure of the government to deliver on its response to the Making Space for Water consultation of March 2005 concerning the overarching strategic role for the Environment Agency;

    (b)  consistency of investment across the agencies including water companies and OFWAT on surface water drainage issues with many different risk factors being taken into account (one in thirty years events for sewerage and drains, one in a hundred for river defences);

    (c)  government budgets both capital and current and the extent to which sensible investment projects are being delayed;

    (d)  proofing of key infrastructure against flooding notably national grid switching stations, water treatment plants and pumping stations; and

    (e)  the change in risk assessments due to climate change.

Chris Huhne MP


August 2007

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