Govt flood response 'totally unacceptable'

British homes must be made more flood-resistant: Sir Michael Pitt
British homes must be made more flood-resistant: Sir Michael Pitt

An independent report into last summer's flooding has today called for British homes to be made more flood-resistant and called the government response "totally unacceptable".

Sir Michael Pitt today published his report into the devastating floods in Hull and Sheffield in 2007.

And the Press Association quotes Sir Michael as declaring national building regulations must be changed and calling on local authorities to create electronic maps of ditches, stream and rivers to establish who is responsible for drainage.

Almost 5,000 households have still not returned to their homes following last year's natural disaster, a figure Sir Michael claims will leave people "shocked".

He went on to say it was "totally unacceptable" that there were still people in temporary housing.

"First of all, there's the problem that when you do get water into a house because of flooding, if the water is there and it has to dry out, that can take a long period of time. That can take longer if the wrong building materials are used," he said.

"There are many more provisions that can be made. We need to have more sharing of information, more joint working in advance of a flood and more cooperation in event of an emergency."

The Pitt Review, a government-commissioned review, contains 92 recommendations on how Britain can better equip itself in the event of another flooding disaster.

In the report, Sir Michael also claims there is no evidence that sandbags work in holding back flood waters.

He says that global warning is providing an "ever-increasing threat" and that action must be taken now instead of waiting for another disater to happen.

It should be assumed that flooding as experience last year will be experienced again, Sir Michael declared.

The Pitt Review also calls for property owners to also be better made aware of the risks of flooding to their homes.

And the review offers a 25 year action plan to develop Britain's flood defences.

Sir Michael was asked in August 2007 to conduct the review. An interim report in December last year highlighted 15 urgent recommendations required to prevent or mitigate flooding in the future.

Liberal Democrat environment spokesman Steve Webb said: "It is totally unacceptable that, one year on, there are still 5,000 families not back in their own homes."


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