§ 4. Mr. Andrew Mackinlay (Thurrock)
Pursuant to his answer of 4 June 1998, Official Report, column 341, on sea levels in the Thames estuary and River Medway, if he will carry out surveys relating solely to projected sea level rises. 
§ The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Mr. Elliot Morley)
It is not the Ministry's responsibility to undertake such surveys. The Environment Agency is responsible for undertaking surveys and studies as part of its flood defence functions; in doing so, it takes into account Ministry guidance on sea level rise.
§ Mr. Mackinlay
Like many others, I am concerned that this is a question of falling between stools. The Government need to take the initiative and examine the impact on coastal regions of rising sea levels, because the evidence suggests that there will be significant flood tides on the Thames and Medway over the next quarter of a century, which will necessitate increasing use of the Thames barrier and involve a danger of its being overtopped. The problem should be addressed by the Government on behalf of all hon. Members who represent coastal regions.
§ Mr. Morley
I can reassure my hon. Friend that the projected rises in sea level are taken into account in Environment Agency surveys and in our flood defence calculations. It is not considered that the flood defences in my hon. Friend's constituency are at risk. I know that there has been some press speculation that he has offended the Prime Minister in some way, but I assure him that there is no danger that his constituency will be obliterated as a result.