Flood report warns further floods likelyPitt review calls for urgent action

17 December 2007

A flooded street with houses

Houses damaged by flooding

The summer floods which devastated parts of England and caused billions of pounds worth of damage were a ‘wake up call’ for the country, a new report has warned.

The interim study has urged immediate action to ensure Britain is not caught out again by events like the flooding that hit the country in June and July.

It warned that several major disasters were only narrowly averted and pointed out that 500,000 people would have been left without power if the Walham electricity switching station near Gloucester had failed during the floods.

The independent review, commissioned by the government, and carried out by Sir Sir Michael Pitt, says there needs to be better protection for critical infrastructure.

Emergency response

The review found that overall the government responded well to the emergencies, with effective collaboration between departments and agencies.

However, Sir Michael says the country was not as well prepared as it should have been. He also warns that flood risk is here to stay and that similar extreme events are likely.

Sir Michael said: ‘Despite the impressive efforts of emergency responders, much work needs to be done to avoid emergencies of the scale we witnessed this summer happening again. The country was fortunate that the impact was not much more severe.’

Flood kit

The report has made 87 recommendations to prepare Britain for coping better with similar natural disasters.

It includes 15 urgent proposals, including calling on the the public to make a flood kit.

This should include key personal documents, an insurance policy, emergency contact numbers, torch, battery or wind-up radio, mobile phone, rubber gloves, wet wipes or antibacterial hand gel, a first aid kit and blankets.

Other recommendations made by the interim report include calling for no buildings to be constructed in flood-risk areas that are not flood resilient, and for the government and insurance industry to work together to educate the public on the benefits of insurance.