Supplementary memorandum submitted by
the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (FL 139a)
REQUESTS FOR FURTHER INFORMATION AND ADDITIONAL
During the 6 February evidence session, the
Committee asked the Department to provide the following information:
1. A note about the progress being made with
the 15 Pitt urgent recommendations (Q 992)
Attached separately [Annex A].
"Managed Realignment" from urban areas
2. How will "Managed Realignment"
be implemented in urban areas without creating planning blight?
Managed realignment is the process by which
the operating authorities deliberately breach or otherwise remove
an existing defence so as to incorporate the land behind the original
defence into an inter-tidal area or river flow corridor. Where
this is undertaken it is always by agreement with the landowner
and often the land concerned is purchased outright. The process
of deciding which areas are to be accepted for managed realignment
can lead to some uncertainty and therefore some possibility of
blight but we are not aware that this is a major issue.
The process that which we understand the Committee
are referring to is much more likely to be "withdrawal of
maintenance" or "do-nothing" options where notice
is given but there is no provision in current legislation for
any land purchase or compensation due to loss through the ensuing
natural erosion or flooding.
Approaches to helping such communities adapt
to flooding and coastal erosion are being considered in a project
under our Making Space for Water programme to assess the scale
and effect of these concerns and investigate the need for a broader
portfolio of options for addressing them. This work is still under
development and we hope to start discussions with Local Authorities
and Councils in the Spring about ways forward. All levels of government
have a role to play in promoting adaptation and local authorities
can already help, for example through the planning process and
Provision of water during an emergency
3. How soon will the requirements for potable
water provision be revised upwards from 10 litres per day?
Defra welcomes the interim conclusions and recommendations
of the Pitt Review and is already taking action to address specific
recommendations. Defra is leading a review of the current guidance
on the provision of alternative water supplies during a water
supply emergency and this will include a review of the minimum
The review is looking into the adequacy of current
planning provisions for alternative water supplies and the methodologies
by which they are delivered and maintained. This review will draw
on expertise from water companies, the Drinking Water Inspectorate,
Ofwat and other government departments including the Welsh Assembly
Government. The review group is expected to report by the end
of June 2008.
Defra will use the report to produce updated
Guidance under the Security and Emergency Measures Direction 1998.
The Direction sets a legal requirement on water companies to plan
to deal with emergencies.
4. Will the figure of interruption of supplies
to 200,000 people as the requirement against which the water companies
are to plan be revised upwards?
The aim of this planning guidance document is
to provide a generic framework that water companies can use in
approaching their local Category 1 responders. This enables them
to develop a multi-agency response that would be required in the
event of major water or wastewater incidents. The Guidance adopts
a value for up to 200,000 people without a piped water supply
for a week, or three days without power as a planning threshold.
The intention is to develop further guidance for larger incidents
in incremental steps. However, 200,000 was a reasonable incident
size applicable to the water industry as a whole, but does not
limit those that could have larger incidents. Those water companies
are already planning for incidents affecting greater numbers of
The guidance is additional to, and supports
any existing national, regional and local generic command and
control protocols. The National Risk Assessment process identifies
hazards that may impact on services and people. For the 2008 NRA
two scenarios have been identified, one of which is an event affecting
a population of 350,000 people for up to two weeks.
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
1 http://www.defra.gov.uk/environ/fcd/policy/strategy/sd2.htm Back