HC 49-I, Fifth Report of Session 2007-08: Volume 1 – Report, Together with Formal Minutes
- House of Commons – Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee
- TSO (The Stationery Office)
The floods that occurred across several areas of the United Kingdom in June and July 2007 were on a scale not seen for sixty years. Thirteen people lost their lives; thousands of people lost either their electricity, water supply or both; and 44,600 homes were flooded. Some £3 billion worth of damage was caused and 7,100 businesses were flooded. The 2007 floods revealed that most organisations – including Government – have focussed on river and coastal flooding and much less so on surface water and groundwater flooding. But two thirds of the summer 2007 flooding was caused by surface water flooding, often after intense heavy rainfall overwhelmed drainage systems. No organisation currently has responsibility for surface water flooding, at either the national or local level.
The Committee believes local authorities, advised by the Environment Agency, should be given a statutory duty for surface water drainage in their area. Only allowing paving over of front gardens with porous materials and the development of sustainable drainage systems (SUDs) are supported. The announced increase in expenditure on flood risk management from £600 million in 2007-08 to £800 million by 2010-11 looks inadequate to cope with both the traditional and new risks the country faces. The summer floods exposed the vulnerability of the nation's critical infrastructure to flooding.
The Government should re-examine the current statutory duties on utilities in relation to emergency planning. A specific duty should be placed on utilities to ensure their critical assets are protected from flooding and that they have adequate business continuity plans in the event of a flood. The Government must implement the findings of the current Pitt Review into the floods in a robust and transparent manner.
The accompanying 'Flooding – Volume 2: Oral and Written Evidence (HC 49-II)' (ISBN 9780215514882) is available to buy separately, see below.
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