Pitt Report Information

After the floods of 2007, which claimed 13 lives and devastated parts of the country, Sir Michael Pitt was asked to carry out a review of the country's flood defences. His full report, now published, contains 92 proposals he says must be implemented if communities are to be better protected.

The key recommendations are:

  • a 25-year plan to address the issue of flooding, along with the creation of a dedicated Cabinet committee
  • an overhaul of building regulations for homes built or refurbished in flood-prone areas - these should stipulate appropriate construction materials and techniques and detail what drainage systems need to be put in place
  • in general, building on flood plains should be the "absolute exception", done only in areas of genuine housing shortage where there is no alternative land available
  • a joint nerve centre run by the Met Office and the Environment Agency - this would hopefully produce more accurate flood warnings based on pooled information
  • definitive electronic maps of all drainage ditches and streams, making clear who is responsible for maintaining them - these should be drawn up by local authorities, which must take a stronger overall lead on flooding in their area
  • more investment by utility companies to protect key infrastructure sites, such as electricity sub-stations - companies must be more involved in flood defence planning in order to build greater resilience into the system to cope with times of crisis.
  • phasing out of sandbags - they are of limited use in protecting homes, and other defences such as flood boards should be used to block doorways
  • greater openness in the property market to ensure that buyers have a clear understanding of the risks of buying in a flood-prone area - local authority searches and Home Information Packs should both be required by law to carry that information
  • the Environment Agency should work with telephone companies to create an "opt-out" telephone flood warning scheme, in which at-risk people are automatically signed up, even those who are ex-directory
  • better preparation by the public - at-risk households should have emergency kits, including torches, wind-up radios, wet wipes and rubber gloves
  • a national flooding exercise at the earliest opportunity to test new procedures.