RMS’ response to Pitt Review on UK flood risk

December 17, 2007

Dr. Claire Souch, director of model management at Risk Management Solutions (RMS) responded to the interim report of the Pitt Review on flood risk.

“While it is encouraging that the report recognizes the need to address surface water flood risk, there seems to be insufficient focus on flooding from small rivers and tributaries,” she said. “Responsibility for these ordinary watercourses should be assumed by the Environment Agency rather than local authorities, so the risk is managed more consistently and effectively. This year’s flooding was partly caused by small rivers overflowing, so it would be a glaring oversight to exclude this factor in any flood risk management plan.”

“Many lessons can be learned from the insurance industry’s approach to estimating flood risk, and the tools it employs could be put to much wider use in emergency planning. The report highlights the importance of understanding how a single flood can cause widespread devastation, as well as the impact of simultaneous events. The insurance industry is years ahead in taking this event-based approach to risk management and could be a key player in developing the report’s recommendations into realistic plans together with the Government and Environment Agency,” she said.

“Flood risk in the U.K. is an unfortunate reality, and we welcome the increased attention that this report brings to the subject. But, it’s crucial that we go beyond rhetoric and start putting an effective risk management program into place, bringing together the expertise that exists in this area. With the rapid growth in housing and development showing no signs of abating, and the daunting prospects of future climate change, flood risk should be a major consideration in planning across the country.”

Source: RMS.

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