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Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which recommendations of the Pitt Review (a) his Department and (b) the Environment Agency have implemented. 
Huw Irranca-Davies: The Government have made significant progress in implementing the recommendations of Sir Michael Pitt's review of the summer 2007 floods. The Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs made a statement to the House of Commons and published the Government's response to the review on 17 December 2008. It sets out what has already been done and a clear action plan for the remaining steps to deliver against the challenging agenda identified by Sir Michael. The Government's response can be viewed at:
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government on developing a single set of guidance for local authorities and the public on the use and usefulness of sandbags and other alternative means of flood water management; and when such guidance will be published. 
Huw Irranca-Davies: As part of the response to Sir Michael Pitts report on the summer 2007 floods, the Government announced that the Environment Agencys guidance on the use of sandbags will be updated by the Agency and made available to the Government, the public and local authorities by February 2009. The Environment Agency is developing additional guidance on self-help home protection measures for householders, businesses and building contractors who may fit them. This guidance will be developed by summer 2009.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions he has had with the Environment Agency with (a) insurance companies and (b) the water industry on sharing information to facilitate the management of flood risk. 
Huw Irranca-Davies: The Government agreed a new Statement of Principles with the Association of British Insurers (ABI) in summer 2008. The agreement requires the Environment Agency to provide information to insurance companies through the ABI. The Environment Agency assures me that it is making good progress to meet its obligations under the statement.
Huw Irranca-Davies: The Environment Agency makes information from its National Flood Risk Assessment available to the public via their website. This information can be searched by postcode and provides an indication of flood risk for areas rather than particular properties. On payment of a small charge, the Environment Agency will also provide any more detailed information that it holds, but again this generally relates to areas rather than properties.
Huw Irranca-Davies: The Floods Directive came into force on 26 November 2007 and member states have two years in which to transpose the Directive into domestic law. DEFRA is co-ordinating the transposition of the Directive into UK law and is ultimately responsible for its timely and compliant implementation. A UK Floods Directive liaison group monitor progress against the project timetable.
Given that the Directive largely mirrors our existing approach to flood risk mapping and planning in England, we are developing proposals that build on these arrangements, taking into account forms of flooding that were previously not mapped, such as surface water, groundwater and reservoirs. Our current proposals are to transpose the Directive through the Floods and Water Bill.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs with reference to the Statement by the Chancellor of the Exchequer of 24 November 2008, Official Report, column 495, on the pre-Budget report, how much of the £3 billion of capital spending brought forward will be spent on flood defences; when he expects the funding to be available; what type of projects it will be spent on; whether any of the funding had been previously announced; and if he will make a statement. 
Huw Irranca-Davies: £20 million of the capital funding announced for flood and coastal erosion risk management in 2010-11 will be brought forward to 2009-10. The Environment Agency estimate that 27,405 households will benefit from new or improved flood risk protection a year earlier than planned.
Funding will be allocated by the Environment Agency. The exact location of households benefiting will be dependent upon schemes passing the necessary feasibility studies and planning applications, as well as final approval for projects, which will be determined in February 2009. The Environment Agency has issued a list of schemes expected to be brought forward as a result. Copies of the list have been placed in the Libraries of the House.
Local authorities are already funded to manage local flood risk through the revenue support grant. In addition, my right hon. Friend the
Secretary of State announced a further £15 million over three years (2008-09 to 2010-11 inclusive) to fund priority local authorities to tackle local flood risk in areas most prone to surface water flooding.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how the funding which his Department is making available to implement the Pitt Review recommendations will be allocated; and by what date such allocation will take place. 
Huw Irranca-Davies: Annex B in The Government's Response to Sir Michael Pitt's Review of the Summer 2007 Floods provides a complete breakdown of the allocation of funding to implement the recommendations. Annex C sets out the timetable for taking work forward. Both annexes can be viewed at:
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what funding his Department will provide for (a) the Environment Agency, (b) the water industry and (c) local authorities to develop tools and techniques to model surface water flooding. 
Huw Irranca-Davies: DEFRA is providing the Environment Agency with £8.5 million over three years (2008-09 to 2010-11 inclusive), on top of the funding already announced for the Environment Agency over the period, to take forward their elements of the Pitt Review action plan including the development of tools and techniques to model surface water flooding. DEFRA is not providing funding for either the water companies or for local authorities for this purpose as surface water modelling is part of the Environment Agency's new strategic overview role.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions he has had with local authorities on collating and mapping main flood risk management and drainage assets; and what funding his Department has allocated to such activities. 
Huw Irranca-Davies: DEFRA has been working closely with local authorities to improve the management of surface water including funding 15 Integrated Urban Pilot Projects to test approaches to surface water management. The results of this work have been used to produce guidance for the development of surface water management plans.
Local authority input into the Pitt Review was high and as part of the response to the Review a survey of local flood risk management was conducted by the
Local Government Association (LGA) and DEFRA. The aim of the survey was to establish the current and future capacity of local authorities to undertake the lead role on the management of local flood risk as proposed by the Pitt Review. There was a high response rate from local authorities to the survey. Two follow up workshops for local authorities are being organised by DEFRA and the Local Government Association to discuss the findings.
The Government's response to the Pitt Review, announced on 17 December 2007, includes £15 million from the Pitt fund and an estimated total of £12 million that local authorities are expected to spend in this area from existing budgets in 2009-10 and 2010-11 to deliver local authority leadership on flood risk management in the 50 highest priority areas. This includes surface water management plans, mapping of drainage assets and oversight and maintenance of sustainable drainage systems for new development.
Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what (a) water safety and (b) other environmental regulations are in place to prevent public access to grassed areas above covered reservoirs; if his Department will encourage water companies to allow such access, with particular reference to urban areas with limited access to green space; and if he will make a statement. 
Under the Security and Emergency Measures Direction, guidance is issued to water companies by the Security Service on the issues they should be considering in order to protect their infrastructure and the standards that they should work to.
Public access to such sites is denied for many reasonsso that it does not compromise water quality, public safety or essential maintenance activitiesand this may lead to a conflict between public access and operational requirements.
Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent progress has been made on implementing the recommendations contained in the Pitt report on flooding; and if he will make a statement. 
Huw Irranca-Davies: The Government have made significant progress in implementing the recommendations of Sir Michael Pitts Review of the summer 2007 floods. The Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs made a statement to the House of Commons and published the Governments response to the Review on 17 December 2008. It sets out what has already been done and a clear action plan for the remaining steps to deliver against the challenging agenda identified by Sir Michael. The Governments response can be viewed at:
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what progress the Environment Agency has made on assessing the risk of flooding from (a) surface water, (b) ground water flood risk and (c) coastal flood risk. 
(a) The Environment Agency issued maps to the 47 local resilience forums in England and Wales in August 2008 indicating the areas likely to be most susceptible to surface water flooding. This followed an urgent recommendation from the Pitt Interim Report that the Government accepted.
(b) The Environment Agency has established groundwater monitoring arrangements in the chalk aquifers across England and is developing a database of all historic records of groundwater flooding to share with local resilience forums.
(c) The Environment Agency undertakes regular assessments of the risk of flooding from rivers and the sea through its national flood risk assessments. The Environment Agencys website provides the latest assessment of the probability of flooding in a particular area including coastal and tidal flooding. The second round of shoreline management plans (covering erosion and flood risk) are under way and are due to be completed in 2010. There are 20 plans in England with the first due to be approved shortly covering the Tees to Flamborough area. A number of detailed strategies have been developed, and are in development, including the Humber Strategy and the Thames Estuary 2100.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs with reference to the answer of 22 July 2008, Official Report, column 1015W, on geographical information systems, which Government bodies will participate in the provision of data to the national geo-portal. 
Huw Irranca-Davies: Implementation of a national geo-portal is being considered among the options for INSPIRE. If a national geo-portal is implemented, it is envisaged that all Government bodies including the devolved Administrations and local authorities across the UK would be given the opportunity to participate in the provision of data.
Mr. Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many members of staff in his Department have received gifts valued at £100 or higher in the course of their duties in each of the last three years; what these gifts were; and from whom they were received. 
Huw Irranca-Davies: The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) does not hold a central record about gifts received by all staff. The Department therefore is not in a position to provide the requested information without incurring disproportionate cost.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions he has had with British Waterway's on progress towards its target to expand its waterways network in the Cotswolds by 2012. 
The Government support British Waterways' ambitions to expand the network where this will assist in achieving clear additional public benefits. This is provided such expansion does not compromise British Waterways' ability to maintain the existing network through creating additional on-going financial liabilities. Engagement in restoration projects is a matter for its Board to decide, given the need for careful assessment of costs and British Waterways' statutory position.
The Cotswold Canals restoration project is now being taken forward by the Cotswold Canals Partnership. British Waterways is no longer a lead partner in this project but continues to provide expertise.
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps his Department has taken in conjunction with other countries on the monitoring and implementation of international conservation projects in the last six months. 
Huw Irranca-Davies: The Department's main programme supporting international conservation initiatives is the Darwin Initiative, a grants programme launched at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992. The Darwin Initiative funds collaborative projects to assist countries rich in biodiversity but poor in financial resources to implement their biodiversity-related commitments. It has committed over £65 million to 601 projects in 146 countries.
The Edinburgh Centre for Tropical Forests monitors and evaluates the progress of the Darwin Initiative on DEFRAs behalf to assess whether the Initiative is: achieving its objectives and meeting its key criteria; having a lasting impact and legacy on biodiversity in host countries and helping them to meet their obligations under the Convention on Biological Diversity; and whether it is representing good value for money.
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