Select Committee on Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum submitted by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (FL 139)

DEFRA CONTRIBUTION TO THE INDEPENDENT LESSONS LEARNED REVIEW OF THE SUMMER 2007 FLOODS

1.  INTRODUCTION

  1.1  As the Lead Department for Flooding in England, Defra wishes to take this opportunity to contribute its views on issues being considered in the Independent Review of the Summer 2007 floods ("the Pitt Review").

  1.2  The flooding very sadly caused a number of deaths and had severe impacts on many thousands of householders and businesses. It presented major challenges for all responders and others involved in the flooding. This includes the Environment Agency, emergency services and local authorities as well as the insurance industry, utility services and the voluntary sector. The Regional Government Offices and central Government Departments (including Communities and Local Government, Civil Contingencies Secretariat as well as many parts of Defra) also played a significant role. Defra pays tribute to the extraordinary work that was done by all organisations involved in the flooding and recognises that many individuals within them made personal contributions that were well above and beyond the call of duty.

  1.3  As with all major floods, and whilst each event is to some extent unique, there will always be lessons to be learned that should help make the response next time even more effective. That is the purpose of this report; it is intended to offer constructive comments on what worked well and what could be improved for next time. Defra is separately identifying lessons for its own internal management of future flood events and some communications issues between Defra and the Environment Agency are being pursued bilaterally.

  1.4  Some of the discussion in this report reflects comments about the demands that the flooding created for Government Office Regional Resilience Teams, made at an event hosted by Defra's Contingency Planning and Security Division in September 2007. Regional Government Offices will clearly be making their own contributions to the Pitt Review but some of the issues they raised, especially on the demands created by Central Government, and the limitations on their ability to provide full and detailed information on the floods and their impacts, have been recognised in this report.

2.  DEFRA ROLE IN RELATION TO FLOODING

  2.1  Defra is the Lead Government Department for flooding in England. Our role is to:

    —  Set the policy, administrative and legal framework for delivery of the flood (and coastal erosion) risk management service in England.

    —  Provide most of the funding (£600 million in 2007-08) for delivery of that service and set the outcomes and targets that should be delivered for that investment. Funding is directed mainly at the Environment Agency to build and maintain physical defences and also provide flood warning systems. Funding is also provided to local authorities and internal drainage boards for their flood and coastal erosion risk management activity.

    —  Lead on emergency planning, ensuring that effective planning for flood emergencies takes place at national, regional and local level including by leading the flood emergencies work-stream under the Cabinet Office led Capabilities Programme. This includes assessing the capability of all responders to deal with a range of emergencies.

    —  Ensure that the cross-government response to flooding and recovery is initiated when floods occur, including collecting and disseminating information on the causes and impacts of the floods. This continues until such time, if at all, that central machinery within Civil Contingencies Secretariat takes over and CLG takes over the recovery role.

  2.2  The operational role in managing flooding incidents is entirely the responsibility of local emergency responders led by the police in the Gold, Silver and Bronze commands.

  2.3  Defra is reviewing its internal procedures for responding to serious flooding in the light of experience of the Summer floods.

  2.4  As part of our Making Space for Water (MSW) programme, Defra is engaged in a major review of its policies for flood and coastal erosion risk management. This will set a new, long-term strategic direction which aims to ensure a fully sustainable, strategic and holistic approach. This includes a number of key issues of which the Pitt Review will wish to be aware, including:

    —  Extending flood warnings (which currently apply only to river and sea flooding) to other forms of flooding eg surface water and groundwater.

    —  Extending risk mapping to those other forms of flooding (as well as to coastal erosion).

    —  Creating a new Strategic Overview by the Environment Agency for all flood and coastal erosion risk management which would embrace—but not be limited to—the above issues. In June, stakeholders were consulted on the role that the Agency should perform in relation to all forms of inland flooding. Parallel consideration is being given to managing surface water flooding as part of the Defra Water Strategy.

  2.5  This is clearly relevant to much of the experience of the Summer Floods and we ask the Pitt Review to consider how surface water flood risk management could be improved.

  2.6  Defra is also the Lead Government Department for drinking water and sewerage emergencies and the Department's Water Supply and Regulation Division has response plans in place. These plans were last fully exercised in December 2005 and most recently revised in April 2007. Defra works closely with water company emergency planners and the Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI).

3.  PREPARATION FOR FLOODING AND RESPONSE BY EMERGENCY RESPONDERS

  3.1  The Pitt Review will consider in detail the response to the flood emergency, including the adequacy of flood warnings and the way in which Category 1 responders acted. As a contribution to the Pitt Review, a separate report on the way in which the Fire and Rescue Service (FRS) responded is being led by Sir Ken Knight. The Environment Agency and others will also be providing inputs to the Pitt Review. Para 7.1 sets out some particular further issues which the Pitt Review is asked to consider, while the following lesson applies to information available to the public.

  Lesson 1—Defra considers that the (somewhat variable) information available to local residents should be improved, with local radio playing a vital role.

  3.2  Defra keenly awaits the findings of the Pitt and Knight reviews and will work across Government, and with the Environment Agency and others in responding as positively, and as quickly, as possible to the recommendations. This has been the approach to lessons learned reports from previous floods and emergency exercises with action taken to implement or otherwise address lessons identified.

4.  CENTRAL GOVERNMENT RESPONSE

Across Government/Agencies

  4.1  From its standpoint, Defra considers that there was strong collaborative working and cooperation across all Government Departments and Agencies and that there was an equally strong central response. The major pressures that the floods created did not impose any barriers or resentment; indeed the sense that "we are all in this together" seems to have engendered a spirit of cooperation and mutual support.

  4.2  We also consider that the arrangements for escalation of the Government response to the Civil Contingencies Committee/COBR worked well, including joint working between CCS and Defra in establishing the Pitt Review. We also welcome the way that Communities and Local Government readily accepted responsibility for leading on recovery issues and we consider that the Cross Government Flood Recovery Officials Group has provided an invaluable network in support of that role. However, we would ask the Pitt Review to form an independent view of the arrangements that operated between Departments.

  4.3  We also consider that lessons can be learned in terms of improving briefing and information sharing which are considered in Section 5.

  Lesson 2—Cross Government/Agency Relations Defra's emergency planning for flooding should be amended, including to set out more clearly the arrangements for:

    (a)  escalating the response to flooding within Government;

    (b)  making clear the relative responsibilities of Defra (flood protection and emergency management) and CLG (recovery);

    (c)  maintaining networks with officials across all Government Departments; and

    (d)  establishing Lessons Learned reviews.

5.  BRIEFING AND INFORMATION

Introduction

  5.1  These floods demonstrated the importance of ensuring that there are clear and robust arrangements in place for capturing and sharing information on the floods and their impacts, and also for responding to questions from the media and others. Defra acknowledges the significant effort that was made by the many people and organisations involved in providing and collating briefing often against extremely tight deadlines and in the face of competing priorities.

  5.2  This section identifies possible changes in the procedures for briefing and information which should both improve its quality and utility while reducing the burdens on those who have to produce and collate it.

Flood Reports

  5.3  Information on what happened and the impact came in from three main sources:

    —  Regularly updated situation reports from each affected Government Offices for the Regions.

    —  Regional Environment Agency "HELP" reports which were collated twice daily by the EA National Incident Room in Bristol to produce a national Sitrep.

    —  Common Recognised Information Picture (CRIP) reports produced by the Civil Contingencies Secretariat which collated information contained in the EA and GO reports.

  5.4  The EA and GO Sitreps, and the CRIP reports, generally provided invaluable information on the floods and their impact. However, the sheer quantity of the information, arriving at different times during the day, was often difficult to assimilate and use in eg accurate and up to date Ministerial briefings. This reinforced the need, identified in previous floods and in Exercise Triton (2004), for timely access by all to reliable data on the floods. This might be facilitated by an Extranet site for live provision and receipt of briefing material on the flood event which is accessible to Ministers and officials. Prior to the floods, CCS and CLG had been working on proposals for such an Extranet site to handle a range of emergency incidents and this work should be taken forward urgently. The establishment of a "battle rhythm" reduces the demands for ad hoc briefings, sets a timetable to work to, and provides assurance that the response is being managed. It also ensures information is delivered at particular times; allows it to be assimilated for briefings and meetings, and sets realistic expectations.

  Lesson 3—Timely shared briefing and possible Extranet site Defra, CCS and CLG should work together to identify means of achieving timely access by all relevant recipients to reliable data on the floods within an established "battle rhythm". This might be through an Extranet site for flooding and possibly other emergencies.

Ministers and MPs

  5.5  Ministers, from all affected departments visited affected areas; kept Parliament informed in regular Statements on the developing flooding situation and the Government's response; and then, during the Summer Recess, held weekly phone-ins for MPs to raise constituency concerns. This open and accessible approach by Ministers helped MPs to raise issues and to feed back information.

  Lesson 4—Public and Parliamentary access to Ministers These floods demonstrated the value of Ministers being open and accessible including visiting affected areas, making regular statements to Parliament and hosting weekly phone-ins for MPs. Such arrangements could be firmly embedded in future emergency planning.

Reporting responsibilities

  5.6  The EA reports tended to concentrate on the causes of the flooding, flood warnings and possibilities of future flooding taking account of weather forecasts and river peak flows. EA provided some information on other flood impacts and the management of incidents that were within the Agency's responsibilities (eg the potential breaches of Ulley Reservoir and Bentley Flood Bank). However, a much wider range of material was provided by the GOs, covering for example loss of water and power supplies, impacts on industry and agriculture and school closures. GO reports also provided details of how particularly serious incidents (actual or potential) were being managed eg the risks to Walham Switching Station and the impact of the loss of Mythe water treatment works. The management of such incidents, and their possible impacts, were a major concern and were often included in Statements to Parliament so requiring absolutely up-to-date and accurate assessments of the position.

  5.6  There were significant differences in the scope of the information provided by EA and the Government Offices in relation to properties flooded. EA reports were of 3,000—4,000 properties affected by fluvial (ie river) flooding whereas several days later the GOs were reporting over 30,000 houses flooded from all sources, including surface water. This contributed to some delay in the reporting of the scale of flooding in Hull.

  5.7   Later on, a "flooded property" was only regarded as one where the habitable part had been affected (ie excluding those where the only damage was to outbuildings, garages and gardens). This substantially, and entirely reasonably, reduced the numbers counted. A similar definition might have been applied to exclude those business premises which had suffered little impact.

  5.8   There were some calls for greater clarity of roles between Gold commands and the Department. Defra were asked for local operational detail on the use of tankers for agricultural water which might have been directed at Gold as that is where the relevant players were and where operational detail is owned. The information flow from Gold up to London could encompass that sort of detail—perhaps in an agreed template—rather than leading to a series of ad hoc questions.

  Lesson 5—Reporting responsibilities Clear arrangements should be established setting out which organisations are responsible for reporting on what, when (ie timing during the day) and on what basis (eg to count households only where the habitable condition has been affected and perhaps only those businesses suffering interrupted trading). As a broad demarcation, GOs might report on all impacts and the emergency response; EA might report on the causes of the floods, predictions of future flooding, and response to incidents being managed by the EA.

Core briefing

  5.9  Defra, CLG and CCS each produced sets of "core briefing" material for use in responding to policy and media enquiries. Inevitably these sets of briefing contained much similar information but often also something that the others didn't. We could consider whether alternative arrangements are feasible that might avoid duplication and a risk of conveying different messages.

  Lesson 6—Shared and rationalised briefing The briefing produced by central Departments might be reviewed to see whether it could be rationalised and shared to ensure consistency and avoid duplication of effort. An Extranet site as in Lesson 3 might help achieve both objectives.

CCS Briefing

  5.10  The CRIP reports produced by CCS were adopted as the authoritative source of cross-Government briefing. Defra consider they were very useful for that purpose but wish to consider some minor issues, eg on the content and format of the reports, with CCS. CRIP reports might be absorbed into any future Extranet site.

  5.11  We would also ask CCS to review the purpose of their "Top Lines" brief which seemed to comprise a mixture of quotations from Ministers and general advice but was given restricted circulation.

  Lesson 7—CCS Briefing CRIP reports should remain the primary form of cross-Government briefing (subject to consideration of some detailed issues with Defra and a more significant review if an Extranet site as in Lesson 3 comes to fruition). The "Top Lines" brief should be reviewed.

Demands on Government Offices for the Regions and local authorities

  5.12  Government looks to GOs to provide information on the floods, and their impacts, which is necessary for understanding the major issues, responding to questions from the media and Parliament and for generally managing the central response. However, GOs and other core responders will be heavily involved in the operational response to flooding and this must be their top priority.

  5.13  GOs have also said that it was often difficult to obtain information on impacts, especially in the detail sometimes requested by central Government. GOs had to rely heavily on local authorities to provide the information. LAs were themselves generally heavily involved in managing the flooding impacts and could not devote resources to eg counting properties and schools affected, even though central Government regarded this as key information. Moreover, GOs said that the number of houses affected was still not final by mid-September. These limitations on data completeness and accuracy need to be understood and "health warnings" applied to its use.

  Lesson 8—Demands on GOs etc Central Government should:

    (a)  work with GOs to ensure that effective arrangements exist for provision and coordination of briefing that do not adversely affect the local emergency response—again an Extranet site as referred to in Lesson 3 may help provide a solution; and

    (b)  recognise that any information provided by GOs etc may be incomplete, involve significant estimation, and may therefore need health warnings when used.

6.  MAJOR FLOOD IMPACTS ON DEFRA POLICY AREAS

Reservoir Safety

  6.1  The transfer of enforcement responsibilities to the Environment Agency and other changes in the Water Act 2003 have been a major step forward in improving the reservoir safety regime. However, the significant possibility of failure of the Ulley Reservoir highlighted a number of issues relating to reservoir safety which should be considered by the Pitt Review. In particular it raised questions about the inspection regime and risk classification. The Environment Agency has submitted a number of recommendations to the Pitt Review Team for reform of the legislation and other approaches to reservoir safety. Defra recognises that these are valid issues for consideration and looks forward to seeing the resulting recommendations from the Pitt review.

  Lesson 9—Reservoir safety Defra considers that the Environment Agency proposals for legislative and administrative reform of the reservoir safety regime are worthy of careful consideration.

  Lesson 10—Ulley reservoir We invite the Pitt Review to consider the effectiveness of the way in which the Ulley Reservoir incident was managed and assessed.

Water supply and sewerage

  6.2  Defra's role as the Lead Government Department for drinking water and sewerage emergencies is explained in para 2.6.

Communication

  6.3  During an emergency, water companies will be subject to demands for information from Defra, DWI (in their regulatory role) and the local Gold command. Defra takes as its lead Section 208 of the Water Industries Act 1991, from which the Security and Emergency Measures Direction 1998 (the "SEMD") was issued. This Direction places planning and reporting requirements on water companies in the event of a drinking water or sewerage emergency. Defra needs timely and regular reports for use in briefing Ministers and for Ministers to use when reporting to Parliament. Consistency in reporting would best be achieved by companies adopting and maintaining a core "script" for all their communication needs. There may also be lessons to be learned in respect of managing expectations: partial use of data, without the qualifications applied by the originator, can falsely raise hopes and then discredit the good work that is being done in difficult circumstances.

  Lesson 11—Communication In responding to any emergency, it will be necessary for water companies to quickly put in place arrangements for ensuring information flows to Defra and the Drinking Water Inspectorate (in their regulatory role) and to Gold Command are consistent and frequently updated.

Alternative water supplies

  6.4  The figure of 10 litres minimum per person per day is a planning requirement notified by the Secretary of State. It was set at the time of the 1998 Direction after consultation with water companies, Department of Health and DWI. This is regarded as a minimum amount and for smaller incidents over a 2-3 day period may be exceeded. Mythe was exceptional in terms of the number of people without water and the time period that they were without mains drinking water, with alternative supplies having to be provided for approximately two weeks. The rationale for this 10 litre target, and its adequacy in absolute terms, should be reviewed in the light of the Mythe experience.

  Lesson 12—Alternative water supplies The adequacy of 10 litres/person/day as the minimum requirement for alternative water supplies should be reviewed in the context of a major and sustained emergency such as Mythe.

  Resilience of water and sewerage (and wider) infrastructure

  6.5  Water companies are responsible for making sure their assets are protected against flood risk and receive advice from the Environment Agency, and against security risks on the advice of the security services. Action by water companies may include making improvements to connectivity to allow rezoning of their networks in the event of loss of part of the infrastructure, and this is a commonly used technique in incidents. In the light of the impact on water and sewerage facilities of this year's floods, there is a need to examine whether other infrastructure is similarly vulnerable and the extent to which this has been and/or should be recognised and addressed in such things as water companies' 25-year water resource management plans. The floods also showed the need for all critical infrastructure, including power and telecommunications, to be resilient to flooding.

  Lesson 13—Resilience of water and sewerage (and wider) infrastructure In light of the Mythe incident to examine whether there is a need to reconsider the measures taken to reduce vulnerability of the water and sewerage infrastructure to flooding and other threats. There is also a need to consider resilience to flooding of other significant infrastructure eg power and telecoms installations.

Water company responsibilities for sewerage

  6.6  If there is no mains water then householders will not be able to flush toilets, except with buckets of water. To what extent is it reasonable to expect other sanitation facilities (portaloos and other such equipment as may be used at festivals, pop concerts, etc) to be available and deployed? Should tankered water supplies to local facilities such as schools and community centres be used to maintain some sanitation facilities within the community? If sewage treatment works have failed, then sewage will keep flowing through the system, rather than being allowed to back up. This may result in pollution of watercourses, but this avoids sewage backing up into homes.

  Lesson 14—Water company responsibilities for sewerage In the light of the experience of the recent floods, what might reasonably be required of water companies and other agencies in the event of failure of the sewerage system as a consequence of the loss of mains water supply? What are the statutory responsibilities?

Water Company Mutual Aid

  6.7  The water industry has set up arrangements for companies to help each other in the event of an emergency. This is in the form of identified Mutual Aid that can be loaned to the company in difficulties, under agreed terms. Companies may loan tankers, bowsers and personnel, etc according to what is needed. They also make use of the service provided by Water Direct. It has already been recognised that there is a limit to the size of incident that can be managed by a company's efforts together with Mutual Aid. These larger incidents are termed Major Incidents. A generic framework has been produced for planning for such incidents, in which it is recognised that a multi-agency response is required. During the Mythe incident Severn Trent Water made full use of the water company Mutual Aid available to them and purchased bottled water from Water Direct. In addition, and beyond the Mutual Aid arrangements, additional tankers were sourced from food industry companies, as were additional supplies of bottled water. At the time, there was some criticism of the logistical arrangements for maintaining these alternative supplies of water. Severn Trent Water engaged the services of DHL to help with this and, later, further support was provided by the MoD. Defra's requirement for planning for Major Incidents means that companies will have to have put in place arrangements covering these sorts of eventualities. The water company plans are independently certified each year and the next round of certification reports will be received in April 2008. These will outline the extent to which companies have examined scenarios and have put a multi-agency response in place.

  Lesson 15—Water Company Mutual Aid In the light of the Mythe incident there is a need to consider whether water company Mutual Aid is sufficient. There should be a review of whether there are sufficient resources of key equipment within the industry and of any logistical issues in relation to access, mobilisation and use.

Regulatory role of the DWI input to local Gold command centres

  6.8  Established procedures are in place between water companies, DWI, and relevant local health officials namely HPU (CCDC) and LA (EHO) regarding water quality incident management and consumer warning notices. Using its powers under the Water Industry Act 1991, DWI is investigating whether any offence was committed or any regulations were breached following the loss of water supply from the Mythe water treatment works and will report independently. DWI is also in dialogue with HPA nationally and the water industry about improved advice to health professionals. Defra welcomes the action that DWI has set in train and recommends that the DWI findings and conclusions, which will be made public, are included in the lessons learned review.

  Lesson 16—Regulatory role of the DWI and input to local Gold command centres The DWI is the regulator with statutory powers in respect of drinking water quality including the testing that water companies are required by law to carry out normally or during abnormal operational circumstances including emergencies. DWI is also the technical advisor appointed by SoS to advise government on such matters. This responsibility may not be sufficiently well-defined in the existing operational guidance on health and related matters that is available to local Gold commands dealing with a water supply emergency.

Water for livestock

  6.9  There is no statutory requirement for water companies to supply water to industrial premises and offices or to farms or livestock units. The statutory obligation only extends to the supply of domestic customers but the SEMD requires that in a water supply emergency, companies must have due regard to livestock. Some farms have private drinking water supplies or winter storage reservoirs but others, particularly those with large indoor pig or poultry units or large dairy herds, are largely dependant on the public supply.

  6.10  In the aftermath of the flooding of the Mythe Water Treatment Works, animal welfare issues became a serious concern at a number of livestock farms in the area affected by the loss of the public supply. Animal Welfare is the responsibility of the farmer and farmers should have contingency plans. But the industry norm is for plans that enable them to survive a short term interruption of supply of eg 48 hours. The RSPCA and NFU, with assistance from Defra, the Government Office for the South West, Severn Trent Water and Welsh Water, put in place arrangements for supplying tankered supplies to vulnerable units. But it was an ad hoc response rather than a considered part of the plan.

  Lesson 17—Water supply for livestock farms We could review the arrangements for ensuring adequate water supply to livestock farms.

Agriculture

  6.11  The floods had a major impact on agricultural crops and livestock. Defra agreed various measures to ease the impacts, for example cross compliance rules were eased to allow machinery onto recently flooded land. Lessons identified from the actions taken will be absorbed when there are future floods or similar events impacting on farmers.

  6.12  Current approaches to flood risk management already provide for payments to be made where agricultural land provides "planned" flood storage. Defra will review how crop etc values are factored into cost:benefit appraisals for investment in capital and maintenance work. Consideration should also be given to the adequacy of the Environment Agency's flood warning service in relation to farming businesses (eg to enable attempts to save livestock). Lesson 17 addresses the provision of emergency water supplies to livestock.

  Lesson 18—Flood Management and Agriculture Defra should review how crop etc values are factored into cost:benefit appraisals for investment in capital and maintenance work, taking account of predicted future flooding/rainfall patterns (especially the balance between summer and winter floods).

  Lesson 19—Flood warnings for agriculture A review could be carried out of flood warnings for agricultural businesses.

Food distribution

  6.13  There were no widespread losses of mains power during the floods but, where these occurred, supermarkets responded well and in several cases already had emergency facilities or were able to bring them in. There was no loss of power to food manufacturers and transport problems (eg from flooded roads) tended to be localised. The threatened loss of Walham Switching Station led to Defra setting up contacts with the food industry to deal with potential displacement of people.

  Lesson 20—Food distribution The floods did not seriously challenge the food distribution industry and supermarkets demonstrated a reassuring ability to cope with relatively short-term power losses. Defra will consider issues surrounding emergency food distribution through supermarkets, drawing on the experience of emergency water distribution in Gloucestershire.

Waste management

  6.14  The main waste issues from the floods were the impact of increased waste arisings on local authority costs (of disposal including landfill tax liability) and performance measures for landfill diversion and recycling targets. However, the additional waste arisings resulting from the floods within affected councils are no more than around 2% of annual arisings which is well within the normal annual variation. Some issues were however untested in the floods (eg flooding of landfill sites).

  Lesson 21—Waste management Defra and HMT have concluded that there is no case for increasing waste management funding to local authorities; nor for altering their liability to pay landfill tax; nor for changing their performance targets.

7.  OTHER ISSUES WHICH DEFRA INVITES THE PITT REVIEW TO CONSIDER

  7.1  There are some other significant issues that Defra ask the Pitt Review to consider:

Flood Forecasting and Warning

    —  The performance of the Environment Agency's flood warning service against lead time etc targets.

    —  EA had flood warnings in place for areas that had been under water for some time. There may be merit in creating another category such as "Currently Flooded" which could be coupled with important safety messages such as "Don't play in the flood water" and "Be careful when switching the electricity back on".

    —  Met Office severe weather warnings were provided in good time. However, their long term forecasts might be reviewed against knowledge that the El Nino effect was apparent last year and the Jet Stream was apparently much further south than usual.

    —  The arrangements in place for rapidly assessing and communicating the scale of the event so that appropriate escalation of the Government and other response can take place.

    —  The capacity of the Environment Agency website to deal with escalated levels of enquiry during a major flood and whether in the event of the site crashing the contingency arrangements which show only essential information (eg flood warnings and the Floodline number only) should be improved to be more informative.

Response to, and management of, the flooding

    —  The call from some (including parts of the FRS) for all flood response to be coordinated by a national emergency centre or single agency. (This would apparently be rather than the multi-agency response, and Gold/Silver/Bronze commands led by the police under the Civil Contingencies Act 2004. The current arrangements are consistent with national policy that the responses to emergencies are best handled by those who know the locality and are familiar with its geography and disposition of resources—the Lead Government Department provides the central coordinating role for national emergencies.)

    —  The adequacy of the powers available to emergency responders.

    —  The adequacy of the equipment available to emergency responders (including rescue boats and pumps), for different levels of event, and how any additional equipment should be deployed.

    —  Whether Gold Control might in future be established in an event such as Hull.

    —  Whether the Environment Agency's flood response role is clear and appropriate.

    —  Issues surrounding the Environment Agency's difficulty in deploying temporary defences in Upton upon Severn because of road flooding.

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

October 2007





 
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