Environment Agency responds to Pitt review findings on 2007 Summer flooding

Category Business Continuity legislative, regulatory and government

Environment Agency accepts Pitt Review in Full

The report of Sir Michael Pitt's Review into the floods of Summer 2007 was published in June 2008. The Government welcomes this Review, and pays tribute to Sir Michael Pitt and his team. They have thoroughly reviewed the flooding that happened in 2007 and identified clearly the lessons that should be learned.

The Pitt Review was a comprehensive appraisal of all aspects of flood risk management in England and made 92 recommendations for action. In the formal response from the Environment Agency to the review Hilary Benn, Environment Secretary, has accepted all the recommendations of the review and allocated over £2billion over the next 3 years (from both existing and new funds) to address the reports key themes. The main themes identified by the Pitt Review cover:

Knowing when and where it will flood;  

Improved planning and reducing the risk of flooding and its impact;

Rescue and care in an emergency;  

Maintaining power and water supplies and protecting essential services;

Better advice and helping people to protect their families and homes;

and speeding up recovery.

Of particular importance to the Business Continuity sector is the full acceptance of the need to address and improve the standards of Business Continuity planning in both Category 1 and particularly Category 2 responders with the recognition of the need for organisations to meet the levels of planning detailed in British Standard for Business Continuity (BS25999) and to have effective Benchmarking of capabilities.

It is rare for government to accept all the findings of an independent review and it is particularly encouraging to note that there has already been taken action on a number of the recommendations. Additional Investment required for longer term implementation will also be considered as part of the next comprehensive spending review and that any new burdens for local authorities will be funded.

The response comes at the same time as a number of other continuity and resilience initiatives from the Cabinet Office such as the CCA Good Practice Guidelines and the Civil Contingencies Act Enhancement Programme

Continuity Forum Comment

The Continuity Forum is delighted with the Environment Agency Response to the Pitt Review from the Environment Agency which was a major campaign for us over 2008.

Taken together with CCA Enhancement Programme and the Good Practice Guidelines we can see the development of greater consistency and depth of planning and capability being created within both Cat 1 and 2 responders that should enhance the resilience of our business, organisations and communities. One aspect though mentioned at the very end of the EA response is the need for organisations (and individuals) to also take responsibility and act.

Whilst a little lost in the raft of public sector and utility organisation recommendations made this recommendation points clearly to the need for all to accept the inevitability of disruption and the importance to spend a little time preparing for the consequences. With the measures coming over the next three years there is little doubt we will be far better prepared as communities for future events, but that for the full benefits for organisations to be achieved from the investment being made by government and Cat 2 responders own Business Continuity and Emergency plans must be in place, connected and robustly tested.

To download the EA response to the Pitt review please click here


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