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Gloucestershire County Council publishes report into summer emergency flooding

Gloucestershire County Council has made a raft of recommendations to central government, local authorities, utility companies, the Met Office and the Police to avoid a repeat this summer's floods which left almost 400,000 people in the county without water or power.

It calls on central government to introduce a single agency with overall responsibility for ensuring the maintenance of watercourses and to conduct an urgent reappraisal of the quantity of water that needs to be supplied to disaster struck areas.

The county has called on the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to reassess whether it is still appropriate to design defences to a 1 in 100 year flood scenario and to give the Environment Agency more say in the construction of new developments in flood plains.

Severn Trent Water is urged to secure a secondary piped water supply for the county in the event of any future loss of Mythe Water Treatment Works, which supplies 350,000 people. The National Grid is urged to beef up flood defences around its sites.

The council said that it must itself improve communications with district councils and its own staff during emergencies. It must also review its maintenance policy to ensure it remains appropriate.

In total 75 recommendations were made by the county council's Scrutiny Inquiry, conducted in Select Committee style over an 11 week period from 29 August to 21 November. The report is intended to help inform the council's contribution to DEFRA's Select Committee inquiry into the floods at a national level, which in turn will inform the independently led "lessons learnt" parliamentary inquiry to be chaired by Sir Michael Pitt.

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