MPs announce inquiry into future flood prevention

27 January 2016

The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee launches an inquiry into future flood prevention in England following severe flooding this winter.

Flooding has affected many areas this winter, costing communities more than £5 billion to date and disrupting thousands of peoples’ lives and businesses. Record rainfall fell in many areas and the consequent floods overwhelmed defences in some places.

Chair's comments

Neil Parish MP, Chair of the Committee, says:

"Flood damage of the sort suffered by communities across the UK this winter is becoming all-too-frequent an occurrence. I know from personal experience how flooding can damage not only buildings, land and infrastructure, but how it can also devastate lives.

Questions need to be answered about whether there are adequate measures in place to plan for frequent, extreme flood events. We want to see how effectively the Environment Agency predicts and prepares for floods in a changing climate. We will also be asking how far Defra policies protect communities in high risk areas from future devastation."

Terms of reference

The Committee invites written evidence on four key topics:

  • Predicting the future: Are the Environment Agency and Met Office models that predict rainfall patterns and the likelihood of future floods fit for purpose - and do they correctly calculate the costs of future flooding to communities?
  • Protecting communities and infrastructure: How adequately do defences protect communities and agricultural land from floods and do current funding arrangements target spending in the right way?
  • Managing water flows: How effectively do Defra and the Environment Agency’s policies encourage innovative approaches to managing risk such as slowing the flow of water in urban and rural river catchment areas and promoting water storage?
  • Planning for floods: How well do planning policies ensure new buildings are not put in areas of high flood risk nor where they would increase risk to others – and how well do new developments incorporate sustainable drainage and flood-resilient buildings?

As part of this inquiry, the Committee will look at flood insurance. With the new Flood Re scheme coming into operation in April, written evidence is also welcome on how accessible and affordable flood insurance will be for businesses as well as householders covered by the scheme.

*The inquiry will focus on the prediction and prevention of floods in England as flood issues are devolved but comparative information on policies and practices in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are welcome.

Written submissions can be sent via the future flood prevention inquiry page 

Notes on submissions

As a guideline submissions should state clearly who the submission is from e.g. 'Written evidence submitted by xxxxx' and be no longer than 1500 words, please contact the Committee staff if you wish to discuss this. Submissions must be a self-contained memorandum in Word or Rich Text Format (not pdfs). Paragraphs should be numbered for ease of reference, and the document should, if possible, include an executive summary.

Deadline for submissions

Submissions should arrive by midday on Tuesday 15 March 2016

Further information

Image: iStockphoto

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