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WESTMINSTER WATCH

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Flood research to aid defence plans ...
Flood research to aid defence plans

Research into the extensive flooding which affected England and Wales last year will help the government plan and manage defences.

Announcing the results of the research, flood defence minister Elliot Morley said: 'This has improved our understanding of the severe rainfall which resulted in the flooding. The work adds to our body of knowledge that will help government and others assess the likely impact of climate change.'

The research, commissioned by the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, showed the floods at the end of last year were the most extensive across England and Wales since 1947, and the rainfall in the autumn was the highest on record for September to November.

The floods cannot be attributed to climate change, the research shows, but the pattern is consistent with predictions of how human-induced climate change would affect rainfall.

'We are seeking to understand when and how the effects of climate change may combine with floods - which we can expect to experience on rare occasions - in order to plan and manage our flood defences most effectively for the future,' Mr Morley added.

For further details see LGCnet.

Connexions' career grows

The Connexions career advice service for young people will extend to three more areas from next month.

The areas are Suffolk, Humberside and Greater Merseyside. Ivan Lewis, minister for young people, said the service was 'backed up by£177m more than the careers service currently receives'.

However, Connexions has been criticised by local government for fragmenting education services and adding another layer of bureaucracy.

Enforcement on probation role

A new front-line role for the probation service as law enforcers has been set out by Home Secretary David Blunkett.

Mr Blunkett said: 'The probation service of the future will need to fulfil a fundamentally different role from before as a law enforcement agency, and as an integrated part of the criminal justice system, working alongside the police, Crown Prosecution Service and prison service to reduce re-offending.'

A public consultation on how best to fight crime will accompany the move. The government is especially interested in views from victims of crime, and will seek issues on topics including reparation and community sentences.

For further details see LGCnet.

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