A senior water engineer has called for a review of the
effectiveness of flood risk measures after floods devastated
parts of northern England last week.
ICE vice president and water panel member David Balmforth told
NCE it was time for clarity about how well the recommendations in
the 2008 Pitt Review had been implemented.
He said heavy flooding in York came after a long line of
localised flood events over the past 12 months.
“We need to ask whether [the flooding] is because we haven’t
responded to the Pitt recommendations or whether it’s just extra
rainfall,” said Balmforth.
His call comes after severe rainfall hit north west, north east
and south west England and northern Wales causing two deaths and
North Yorkshire was the worst affected with a month’s rainfall
falling over two days according to the Met Office. Flooding forced
the temporary closure of the A1 and the East Coast Main Line and
affected a number of towns and cities.
The Pitt Review was conducted after the devastating floods in the
summer of 2007. Balmforth said although there was no repeat of the
concentration of floods seen in 2007, there had been numerous local
He said a review should be led by the Environment Agency
supported by a professional body - such as the ICE or the Chartered
Institution of Water and Environmental Management.
Sheffield University professor of urban water Richard Ashley said
little had improved since 2007.
He said the low loss of life and relatively low impact of
flooding on infrastructure last week was down to the location of
downpours rather than because of flood prevention measures.
“The major city to be struck with flooding was York,” said
Ashley. He said York residents were more prepared as they had
suffered similar events in the last 10 years.
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