THE GOVERNMENT has reacted to the ICE's controversial flooding report Learning to live with rivers, published in November last year, by launching a month-long online discussion forum.
The report caused controversy by suggesting that the best engineering solution to Britain's flooding problems may be to allow homes in low lying areas to flood. The sites should be given up as storm water reservoirs, it said (NCE 8 November 2001).
Local and district councils should support engineers who propose such radical measures and be prepared to abandon areas earmarked for development, said the report, which was produced for the Department of the Environment Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) by an ICE commission chaired by past president Professor George Fleming.
Examining the UK's flood defence infrastructure and recommending a substantial increase in capital investment, the report also called for improved analysis of flooding probability, better flood resistance of new buildings, a single flood protection programme and a consolidated executive agency capable of providing a 'one-stop shop' service to the public.
Fleming said at the launch of the publication that he was prepared for the wider debate that the report would provoke. 'The debate will continue but the solution must be sustainable, ' Fleming said. 'With determination this can be done and we recommend we start now.'
The forum is being run by the Parliamentary Office of Science & Technology, an office of the two Houses of Parliament (Commons and Lords) charged with providing MPs and Lords with balanced and objective analysis of science and technology based issues.
It runs until 15 February at www. floodforum. net.