Fire service needs ‘urgent resources’ for flood response: FBU responds to new NAO report

The Fire Brigades Union has responded to today’s National Audit Office report into flooding resilience in England, calling for a statutory duty for fire and rescue services to respond to floods and the resources to match.

The report finds that approximately 5.7 million properties at risk of flooding in England in 2022-23, and that key infrastructure is at risk, including up to:

  • 77% of rail infrastructure
  • 51% of water supply infrastructure
  • 25% of gas infrastructure

The NAO highlights a lack of long-term planning, concluding that “the government wants to achieve greater resilience to flooding in the long term but has no measure for resilience and no target for the level of flood resilience it expects to achieve.”

Matt Wrack, Fire Brigades Union general secretary said:

“This year’s devastating floods demonstrate the need for planning and investment to face the extreme weather events of the climate emergency. Firefighters have been on the frontline protecting homes, lives, and infrastructure.

“But the latest National Audit Office report highlights the fact that the government does not have an adequate long-term plan, while 5.7m million properties, as well as key infrastructure, are at risk of flooding in England.

“There is no statutory duty for fire and rescue services to plan and respond to floods in England – unlike the rest of the UK. Since 2010, the fire and rescue service has lost one in five jobs and had its central government funding cut by 30%.

“We urgently need a statutory duty on the fire service to respond to flooding in England, and resources to match.”