Headlines: July 13th, 2007



The Government has announced a review of the way local councils and other bodies responded to the recent floods. It will be carried out by the Cabinet Office with support from Defra and the Department for Communities and Local Government and will look into how the incidents were managed and responded to by councils, the emergency services, the Environment Agency and others.

‘The Lessons Learned review’ will seek the views of all those involved including local people whose properties were flooded and local councillors and members of the emergency services. Environment Secretary Hilary Benn said the review would cover flood risk management, the emergency response and the transfer to recovery. At a later stage there will be a further separate review to look at what lessons can be learned from the recovery phase.

Mr. Benn said as the communities that had been affected began the process of recovery they were understandably asking about the causes of the floods and their subsequent management. “My ministerial colleagues and I have said that it is vital that we learn lessons now about how to manage and respond to this type of disaster in the future,” he said.

The review team will report to Mr. Benn, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Ed Miliband, and the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Hazel Blears, with initial findings being published by the end of the year and the publication ultimately of a formal Government report.

Mr Benn said four people had lost their lives as a direct result of the flooding and three other reported deaths were still being investigated. More than 37,000 properties had been affected and thousands of people were still out of their homes. “The response of the emergency services, local authorities, operating authorities, the voluntary sector and the affected communities has been very impressive,” he said.