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Written Question
Flood Control: Millbank
Tuesday 16th November 2021

Asked by: Baroness Deech (Crossbench - Life peer)

Question to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs:

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they have taken to prevent flooding along Millbank; and what measures are involved.

Answered by Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park

Millbank in Westminster is at risk from two main sources of flooding: surface water flooding caused by heavy rainfall and flooding from the tidal Thames. Lead Local Flood Authorities (London Boroughs) hold responsibility for managing surface water flooding, under the Flood and Water Management Act. As a Category 1 responder, the Environment Agency works with other authorities, where possible, to support their response to surface water flooding.

The Thames' tidal defence network is made up of 330 kilometres of flood walls, embankments, 9 major barriers, pumping stations, and flood gates. The Thames Barrier is at the heart of this network, having made its 200th closure to prevent flooding in central London in October this year. These structures protect over £321 billion worth of property and 1.4 million people from flooding. These structures are all having to work harder due to climate change.

The Environment Agency's Thames Estuary 2100 Plan sets a long-term approach upgrading flood defences to manage rising sea levels whilst delivering wider social, environmental and economic benefits for the Thames Estuary. The Thames Estuary 2100 Plan was designed with climate change at its core. It was the first adaptive flood risk management strategy developed in England and is internationally recognised as a leading example of a climate adaptation strategy. By taking an adaptive approach, we can better anticipate and respond to a range of future climate scenarios, ensuring we are investing in the right flood risk management actions at the right time, to ensure the resilience of the estuary and its communities in the future.

Written Question
Genetically Modified Organisms: Crops
Tuesday 6th November 2018

Asked by: Baroness Deech (Crossbench - Life peer)

Question to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs:

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the ruling of the Court of Justice of the European Union on 25 July that gene-edited crops should be subject to the same EU regulations as conventional genetically modified organisms on (1) the UK plant biotechnology sector, and (2) the availability of Horizon 2020 funding for plant technology research; and what plans they have, if any, to mitigate any impact.

Answered by Lord Gardiner of Kimble

The Government intervened in the Court of Justice case because it considered that gene-edited crops should not be subject to the same regulations as conventional genetically modified organisms. Our view is that gene-edited organisms should not be subject to GM regulation if the changes made to their DNA could have occurred naturally or through traditional breeding methods.

We recognise that gene-editing has the potential to make farming more productive and sustainable and that the UK plant biotechnology sector could be a leading player. We were therefore disappointed in the Court’s judgment and the impact it will have on innovation.

The judgement is binding in the UK. However, our departure from the EU could give us the opportunity to take a different regulatory approach in due course. Whilst this may depend on the terms of any agreement that is reached with the EU on future arrangements, it is something that we want to consider.

The draft Withdrawal Agreement envisages that UK participants will be eligible to bid for Horizon 2020 funding for the duration of the programme, including after the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. Projects that are successful in the bidding process will be entitled to receive EU funding for their lifetime. The Government’s priority remains ensuring that the draft Withdrawal Agreement is finalised and concluded.

We are planning for every eventuality. The two major components of our planning in a scenario where the Withdrawal Agreement is not ratified (a “no deal” scenario) are the Government’s underwrite guarantee and the post-departure extension to the guarantee. These mechanisms would ensure cross-border collaboration could continue after we leave the EU.