Memorandum submitted by the Rt Hon David
Curry MP (FL MP 12)
I am grateful to the Chairman for his letter
of 24 July concerning the Committee's future inquiry into flooding.
Two issues have been raised by events in my
The first is the disconnection between formulating
flood relief plans to the point at which everything is ready for
implementation and the implementation itself. In Ripon the flood
defence scheme for the rivers Skell and Laver was approved four
years ago. But the Environment Agency's assessment of risk means
that this scheme does not go ahead because its score is not high
enough. If the score is high enough to justify the preparation
of a complete scheme how can the score then not be high enough
to justify its implementation? It is very difficult to explain
to the people whose homes have now been flooded twice within seven
years, and have been on the verge of flooding on a number of other
occasions, that their case is important enough to plan for defences
but not important enough to put them in place.
The second issue flows from the first one. The
Environment Agency has a scheme of prioritising risk. It is about
to introduce a more sophisticated programme. I think the Committee
could very helpfully look hard at the prioritisation process and
the factors which are included into it. There will always be "once
in a lifetime" events but there are plenty of cases around
the country of communities exposed to persistent risk and of installations
like electricity substations in vulnerable areas which justify
a hardheaded analysis of the whole process of prioritisation.
I hope this is helpful.
Rt Hon David Curry MP
Skipton and Ripon