Flooding (Somerset)

Mr Peter Hain (Neath) (Lab): Is the Secretary of State aware of modelling done by the university of Cardiff that shows that a Severn barrage, operating on ebb flood, would significantly protect the Somerset levels from flooding and act as a barrier against storm surge, protecting 500 sq km and many properties from flooding? Is that not a reason for pressing ahead with the barrage?

Mr Paterson: I admire the right hon. Gentleman for grabbing the opportunity to promote that project, of which he is a very strong supporter. I remind the House that some are very hostile to it because of the barrage’s environmental consequences.