England's flood plans not robust in face of heaviest incidents says review

A review of local flood resilience planing in England is not adequate to to deal with extensive and enduring flooding according to a review of the multi-agency flood plans produced by Local Resilience Forums (LRFs) in England published recently.

The review, led by Major General (Retired) Tim Cross, found that in the event of “very large scale, widespread and enduring flood incidents” LRFs in England did not have “robust plans in place to respond to flooding incidents in their respective areas.”

The review said: “Even with reasonable notice, and current regional and national resources being made available, there is a high probability that LRFs would struggle to deal with the problem, and recovery will pose serious long-term challenges.”

Plans in place for small-medium flood incidents involving a few tens or hundreds of properties were found to be overall robust. And it had a similar verdict for large flood incidents such as the flooding of thousands of properties with consecutive events happening in different areas “provided outside assistance is available, and the flooding is forecast well in advance so precautionary measures can be taken.”

Cross said he looked at not just lwritten plans but “the whole process of how the LRFs understood flood risk, made plans and co-ordinated the roles of the many organisations involved.” And he reviewed also how each LRF “trained, exercised, responded, learnt lessons and kept up to speed with evolving good practice – and looked across multi-agency and LRF boundaries to call upon regional and national resources to bolster local arrangements if needed, and indeed help others.”