Procrastination Over Legislative Change

Following the extreme flooding in 2007,  Sir Michael Pitt was appointed by the government to consider how to improve the country's resilience.

He took evidence from many of those affected and industry experts,  including leading panel engineers.  He recognised the need to regulate the Small Raised Reservoirs (SRRs) that constitute a risk to those living and working downstream in the inundation shadow cast by the dam.

For reservoirs,  the Flood and Water Management Act 2010 enshrines the outcome of this process,  but a key component of this legislative change has stalled.

Since the Act was passed Defra has delayed the introduction of this part of the Act seeking "further evidence".  Both the EA and BDS have provided this.  We have written and met with Defra to urge them to progress with these logical changes.

It is with some considerable frustration that I have read the following announcement from Defra which I believe to be politically driven.  We will be unrelenting in our drive to improve the resilience of these structures by urging Defra to complete the logical process initiated by the independent lead they appointed,  Sir Michael Pitt.

Ian Hope Chair of BDS

"Dear all,
We would like to draw your attention to a briefing note that has been published today,  announcing a recent Ministerial decision not to extend reservoir safety regulations to cover smaller reservoirs at the present time.  The note is aimed at reservoir owners,  engineers and other parties who have an interest in reservoir safety policy in England.

Briefing Note from Defra available here

As explained in the briefing note,  Defra intends to work with the engineering community and other interested parties to inform a future decision on whether or not to regulate smaller reservoirs.  To this end, we intend to hold a meeting after the election to review the gaps in the existing evidence base and how best to address them.  We will invite representatives of interested stakeholder groups,  including the engineering,  farming and reservoir owning communities. Regards,

Jon Bowers

FloodEmergency Planning,  Infrastructure and Reservoirs Team

Dept. for the Environment,  Food and Rural Affairs (Defra)"

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