Independent Reservoir Safety Review Report

An independent review of reservoir safety legislation and its application was commissioned by the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in 2020 and was led by Professor David Balmforth.

The review report, published on 13 May 2021, provides a comprehensive assessment of the current safety regime in England. It makes recommendations for improving the safety regime and to strengthen the roles and responsibilities for the regulator, reservoir owners and engineers.

Defra will take forward detailed work with the Environment Agency and the industry, to explore the review recommendations to ensure we have a reservoir safety regime that is fit for the future.

The Review has found that the reservoir safety regime works but has not kept pace with other sectors so makes 15 high-level but complex recommendations for modernising the framework and strengthening the roles of owners, engineers and the regulator in England, and moving to a better risk -based approach longer term. 

The recommendations include:  

  • Seven recommendations (or parts thereof) that relate directly to developing a reservoir safety regime through a risk/hazard based approach
  • Five recommendations (or parts thereof) relating to Panel engineer and owners roles and responsibilities
  • Three recommendations (or parts thereof) in respect of panel engineer supply and/or ongoing development of the engineers and/or owners
  • Six recommendations to strengthen the role of the Regulator (Environment Agency) including new responsibilities, duties and powers
  • One recommendation for Government to consider the legislative framework in the round

Government is welcoming the report and is going to take forward detailed work with reservoir industry and the Environment Agency to explore the recommendations. 

Here are links to the press release, the Written Ministerial Statement and the report. 

Press Release

Written Ministerial Statement

Written statements - Written questions, answers and statements - UK Parliament

Independent Reservoir Safety Review Report

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