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  • by Karma Loveday

Defra consults on statutory reservoir flood plans

Defra is consulting until 10 August on making reservoir emergency on-site flood plans a requirement for all reservoirs regulated under the Reservoirs Act 1975.

The move follows the failure at Toddbrook Reservoir in August 2019, and a subsequent survey which indicated that “a large proportion of large raised reservoirs already have on-site plans, but there are many that do not. We consider this position is not acceptable for public safety and are therefore considering making it a statutory requirement for all reservoirs regulated under the Reservoirs Act 1975 to have, and maintain, on-site flood plans.”


Defra explained: “On-site flood plans are designed to manage any risk posed that may result in an uncontrolled release of water from a reservoir that would, or might, cause flooding to the surrounding area and communities. Plans should include information on key contacts and the actions the reservoir undertaker (owner or operator), or their staff, would take on site to prevent, control or mitigate such a release. Plans should be informed by Reservoir Flood Risk maps and complemented by local emergency plans to ensure preparedness for reservoir flood risks.”


The department said it is particularly interested in:

  • what the on-site plans should include;

  • how often they should be updated and tested;

  • how it can improve the guidance about preparing plans; and

  • whether training for undertakers, engineers, local authority emergency planners and emergency services would be beneficial.

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