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Pitt: are his recommendations practical?

I read with interest your article referring to making the Environment Agency additionally responsible for surface water flooding (NCE 19 June).

This appears to be in spite of anticipated recommendations from the Pitt Review that local authorities will need dedicated flood engineers.

Is this another proactive move by the government to take the cheapest, yet not best value, option by placing additional responsibility onto an already under resourced organisation?

Surface water drainage is a complex subject, with numerous sources and pathways, exacerbated by a multitude of stakeholders, history and under investment that will prove difficult to understand through "strategic overviews".

While strategic overviews are welcomed, they need to be supported by more on the ground activity. We are sorely missing the local authority drainage engineer with their local detailed knowledge, experience and understanding of what infrastructure is present and the interactions between systems.

I was disappointed to see Phil Woolas quoted as saying that this approach "in principle could work".

Surely, following the Pitt Review, we should be at a stage where we can be confident that the way forward will deliver what is expected of us as a civil engineering profession.

I'm sure the public in Hull and Tewkesbury would also appreciate a more positive view and am concerned that the government's tinkering will be to take the cheapest option and once again ignore the recommendations of a review that has taken 12 months of detailed investigation.

PETER ROBINSON (M), Broomfield Cottage, 6 Glebe Street, Dalkeith

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