Magazine article Public Finance

Flood Risk Expert Calls for Legal Overhaul

Magazine article Public Finance

Flood Risk Expert Calls for Legal Overhaul

Article excerpt

The legal framework for flood risk management is a mess', with gaps that make it hard to establish who is responsible for what, Sir Michael Pitt, who is carrying out a review of last summer's floods, has warned.

'Flood risk is here to stay and probably will get worse,' Pitt told a conference organised by the Local Government information Unit on March 26. The country was 'not well prepared' for the floods, he said. 'Many people in high command... were on a voyage of discovery.'

He urged new legislation to cover essential areas such as responsibility for drainage and other elements of flood risk management.

'What a mess the legal framework is,' he said. People were unable to tell who was accountable for which elements of infrastructure or disaster response. 'The reality is the legal framework does not join up.'

He added: 'There were really quite serious problems of forecasting and delivering warnings to people of the onset of flooding.'

The Environment Agency had not had full responsibility for handling all types of flood risk, he warned, with particular ambiguity surrounding surface water flooding - the enormously quick, enormously dangerous' phenomenon that hit two-thirds of the properties affected by the summer floods. …

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