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National body is needed to take charge of flood plans

I am pleased to see that the Pitt report is asking which organisation should lead multi-agency planning for severe weather emergencies.

However it begs the question of which organisation should be responsible for managing flood risk.

After 30 years as a practising flood risk manager I find it quite bizarre that we have so many organisations with flood risk management responsibilities. Surely the time has come to completely overhaul the way flood risk is managed.

My experience suggests that there should be one body responsible for managing all aspects of surface water. This body should have statutory powers to control and manage any development involving surface water runoff, manage existing surface water systems, operate and maintain rivers and coastal systems and construct and maintain defences to property and infrastructure.

While the Environment Agency could take the lead role I think that flooding and climate change is such a major issue that a new body should be created.

I do not agree with Pitt that local authorities should lead the management of local drainage. They should provide the local resource to deal with local issues under the leadership of the responsible body. That way it is more likely that a consistent application of policy would be achieved.

Perhaps we can learn from history. There was a Civil Defence organisation which could be called on to oversee any emergency. It also maintained stores of emergency equipment for use in any situation.

IAN WOOD (M), 8, Gibbs Close, Lower Moor, Pershore, WR10 2NQ

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