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Bye heads floods post-mortem

THE ENVIRONMENT Agency this week confirmed that Peter Bye, the retired chief executive of Suffolk County Council, will chair the independent review of its response to the catastrophic flooding which struck the Midlands over Easter (NCE 23 April).

The disaster occurred just 18 months after the Agency took over responsibility for flood warning from the police. Five people died and thousands were left homeless after unusually high rainfall caused rivers and canals to overflow and engulf residential areas. Many people complained they received little or no warning.

The review will examine the effectiveness of the Agency's flood warnings, the implementation of emergency response procedures and co-operation with public bodies and emergency services.

Technical advice will be given to the review by Dr Michael Horner, managing director of Bullen Consultants. A preliminary report is expected to be presented to the Agency Board by 31 May with a full report by the end of September 1998.

A seminar hosted last week by HR Wallingford on flood and insurance risk concluded that a nationwide review of the insurance industry's approach to flooding is long overdue. The value of property at risk from coastal and river flooding has increased. More than 100 delegates heard how this was directly linked to continued development in the flood plain.

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