§ The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Mr. Elliot Morley)
Although the Department has policy responsibility for flood defence, individual works are designed, constructed and maintained by the operating authorities for each area. The Environment Agency and local councils are jointly considering improvements to defences in the Edgware area.
§ Mr. Dismore
Is my hon. Friend aware that since the last extensive flooding many people feel that they are living on borrowed time and have sandbags piled high in their back gardens? The floods affected not just Edgware but Burnt Oak and Colindale, and caused substantial damage with consequent distress to my constituents. My constituents are concerned that recent changes to MAFF criteria for approval of schemes may adversely affect them. Before making any final decision on the expected report from the Environment Agency, will my hon. Friend agree to listen to further representations on that study?
§ Mr. Morley
My hon. Friend has pursued the threats to his constituents with diligence. The Environment Agency is considering a catchment plan for the Silk stream and its tributaries, which is probably the best way of approaching the problem. That proposal has not yet been put to MAFF, so we are not in a position to ascertain whether it meets the criteria. If it does not, stand-alone schemes may be considered to protect the interests of residents. We are always willing to receive representations.