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The Jubilee River story - Pitt Review - Final progress report - Jan 2012

Below is a short extract from the report. 

The complete report may be obtained using link - http://archive.defra.gov.uk/environment/flooding/documents/risk/pitt-response.pdf

Sir Michael Pitt’s review of the summer 2007 floods

Following the widespread and serious flooding in England during June and July 2007, Sir

Michael Pitt conducted an independent review of the way the events were managed. Sir

Michael published the interim conclusions of the Review in December 2007: the final report -

The Pitt Review: Lessons learned from the 2007 floods - was published in June 2008.

The final report contained a detailed assessment of what happened and what we might do

differently. It put forward 92 recommendations covering prediction and warning of flooding,

prevention, emergency management, resilience and recovery. Many of the recommendations

were far-reaching and called for a radical reshaping of our flood risk management practice.

Alongside the final report, Sir Michael’s team published an implementation and delivery guide,

setting out who the team felt was responsible for ensuring implementation of each

recommendation and the suggested timescale for doing so.

Government response

A government response was published in December 2008 and the Ministers in post at the time

accepted all of the Report’s recommendations and gave an undertaking to implement them in

line with the delivery guide. Defra’s Structural Reform Plan reinforced the Coalition Agreement

commitment to ensure that the remaining Pitt recommendations were implemented.

The response set out an implementation plan for each recommendation and work on delivery

has been the responsibility of a number of Government Departments and Agencies, with Defra

providing overall coordination. A cabinet sub-committee, with a remit to improve the country’s

ability to deal with flooding and implement the recommendations of the Pitt Review, was

established by the previous Government and progress was reported to it. Having overseen the

initial implementation of the Pitt recommendations, the sub-committee has since been

disbanded.

Progress reports

Since the response was published, two progress reports have been published, in June and

December 2009. These progress reports showed what action had been taken to ensure we are

better placed to predict, prepare for, deal with and recover from the unique challenges posed by

flooding events. This report is a final assessment of progress.

Key progress and developments since the last progress report of December 2009 are

summarised below.

The Flood and Water Management Bill became an Act in 2010, providing for better,

more comprehensive management of flood risk for people, homes and businesses, helps

safeguard community groups from unaffordable rises in surface water drainage charges

and protects water supplies to the consumer.

Publication, in July 2011, of the National Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk

Management Strategy for England and statutory guidance on co-operation and

requesting information. The strategy sets out a statutory framework that will help

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

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communities, the public sector and other organisations to work together to manage flood

and coastal erosion risk. It will support local decision-making and engagement in flood

and coastal erosion risk management, making sure that risks are managed in a coordinated

way across catchments and along each stretch of coast.

The National Flood Emergency Framework was published in July 2010. This provides

guidance and advice for councils and others on planning for and responding to floods.

The Framework will be a ‘one stop shop’ reference point on flood planning and will be

updated on a regular basis.

The Water Industry (Schemes for Adoption of Private sewers) Regulations 2011

transferred private sewers that connect to the public sewerage system to the water and

sewerage on 1 October 2011. This transfer will provide customers with the assurance of

having a regulated company responsible for maintaining and repairing the sewerage

system serving their property, which works to minimum standards of service, which is

overseen by Ofwat, and on whom they can call if problems arise.

Exercise Watermark was successfully run in March 2011. The final report was

published in October 2011.

Some recommendations are no longer being taken forward, or not as originally envisaged by

the Review;

Recommendation 28: the forthcoming flooding legislation should be a single

unifying Act that addresses all sources of flooding, clarifies responsibilities and

facilitates flood risk management

Due to parliamentary time constraints the Flood and Water Management Act focussed on

the immediate legislative requirements. It is intended to consolidate legislation in due

course, probably once further water legislation is passed. In the meantime work is

continuing on consolidation of some aspects of legislation (e.g. reservoirs) subject to

availability of counsel’s time. Defra’s Departmental Plan makes clear our commitment to

complete this consolidation work by December 2014.

Recommendation 59; The Risk and Regulation Advisory Council should explore

how the public can improve their understanding of community risks, including

those associated with flooding, and that the Government should then implement

the findings as appropriate.

The Risk and Regulation Advisory Council published its review “Rising Levels? Public

awareness and understanding of risks from flooding” in December 2009, in which they

made 8 recommendations. All but one of these have been implemented; BIS started to

implement recommendation 6 (requesting Government support for research to further

develop the Risk and Regulation Advisory Council’s ideas on public risk and

responsibility), but the change in administration has brought this to a hold and it has not

been picked up again because of reduced resources. The seven other

recommendations have been implemented by Defra, the Environment Agency and Lead

Local Flood Authorities.

Recommendation 63; flood risk should be made part of the mandatory search

requirements when people buy properties, and form part of Home Information

Packs (HIPs).

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

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Following the abolition of HIPs (a Coalition Agreement commitment), there is no longer a

legal requirement for an investigation of flood risks in the home buying process. However

it is likely that where a home is at risk of flooding, prospective purchasers or their

advisers will commission an environmental search which addresses flood risk, in line with

Law Society guidance to solicitors, and make an informed decision as to whether to

proceed.

Recommendation 87: The Government should establish a Cabinet Committee with

a remit to improve the country’s ability to deal with flooding and implement the

recommendations of this Review; and

Recommendation 88: The Government should establish a National Resilience

Forum to facilitate national level multi-agency planning for flooding and other

emergencies

The governance arrangements for national security and resilience have been reviewed,

including through the National Security Strategy and the Strategic Defence and Security

Review (SDSR) published on 18 and 19 October 2010 respectively; they do not include

a Committee devoted to flooding nor a National Resilience Forum.

However, the NSC sub-committee on threats, hazards, resilience and contingencies

(THRC) does cover flooding which is recognised in the National Security Strategy as a

high risk for the longer term; and there is a number of forums in which government and

other stakeholders with an interest in resilience can meet and this will include specifically

an infrastructure security and resilience advisory council, announced in the SDSR; which

will significantly enhance cooperation between public sector bodies and private sector

providers of national infrastructure (for example the water industry). Flood and coastal

erosion risk management may also be considered by the Home Affairs Committee.

The external link to full report on the Defra website -

http://archive.defra.gov.uk/environment/flooding/documents/risk/pitt-response.pdf