In the House of Commons yesterday, I asked the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs about flood defences in Exeter.
Mr Ben Bradshaw (Exeter) (Lab): Will the Secretary of State guarantee that the measures he has announced to address the very serious problems on the Somerset levels will not delay investment in the south-west’s main priority in relation to flood defences—namely, the upgrading of the Exeter flood defence to protect the railway line and thousands of businesses and homes after last year’s floods, which caused huge economic damage and devastation not only to parts of Somerset but the whole of Devon and the whole of Cornwall?
Mr Paterson: The right hon. Gentleman is absolutely right to remind us of how damaging the floods were last year and the impact on the railway line, which I saw for myself. Significant work is going on on that line as we speak, as has been discussed in Cobra this week. It is absolutely our intention to deliver the very significant programmes that will soon come forward; we will announce the details shortly.