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Calls for new agency to take charge of flood defence

Official reports into the summer floods that killed 14 and caused more than £3bn of damage have this week slammed the lack of an agency with overall responsibility for flooding.
Reports from both Hull and Gloucestershire – two of the worst hit areas – were united in singling out the absence of a dedicated flooding agency.

The Environment Agency's report into the floods, which will take the Hull and Gloucestershire reports into account, will be published on Monday.

In Hull it was claimed that warnings from more than a decade went unheeded.

The independent report, produced by professor Tom Coulthard of Hull University for Hull City Council, says: "We have noted that over a period of 11 years, a series of clear recommendations relating to the condition, design and operation of the drainage and pumping systems of Hull were made to Yorkshire Water."

In response Yorkshire Water said that "no drainage system in the UK today would have coped with the deluge".

The report was also critical of water regulator Ofwat saying: "lack of regulation provides no compulsion for water companies to invest in sewerage systems." Hull's floods resulted from the city's sewerage system becoming overwhelmed.

In Gloucestershire, the county council's Scrutiny Inquiry into the flooding was also critical of the "lack of a body to coordinate/assume overall responsibility for the maintenance of watercourses".

It also pointed out that there was a "lack of knowledge of the overall capacity of the county's drainage system". The Gloucestershire emergency services also had to battle to protect water and electricity infrastructure.

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