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Volume 477: debated on Thursday 12 June 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government which districts have held emergency planning measures and resilience scenarios to prepare for future floods following the summer floods of 2007 and the recommendations of the Interim Pitt Review. (209439)

I have been asked to reply.

Since 2005, the principal mechanism for multi-agency cooperation in preparing for emergencies has been the local resilience forum, based mainly on each police area rather than districts1, and bringing together the emergency services and other category one and two responders as defined in the 2004 Civil Contingencies Act.

All local resilience forums are required under the Act to carry out assessments of the risks of emergencies in their areas. Many2 local resilience forums have a collectively agreed multi-agency flood response plan; and nearly all of the main category one responders within them either contribute to these plans or take account of flooding incidents in their own emergency response plans. Most of the plans that exist had already been reviewed in the period following the summer flooding; and multi-agency plans are being further reviewed following the issue of new guidance from Government in February this year. The Government specifically wrote to all LRF chairs in February and again in May 2008 asking LRFs to let us know how the new guidance was being embedded at a local level. The replies we have had in to date give a clear indication that many LRFs have been very active since the floods last year. In particular, it seems evident that significant effort has gone into identifying the lessons of 2007 and improving local risk assessments, plans and their general state of preparedness (mostly through better activation procedures and clarity over roles and responsibilities).

1 For example the North Yorkshire LRF area comprises seven district councils (Selby, Harrogate, Ryedale, Scarborough, Hambleton, Richmondshire and Craven) and the City of York. All seven district councils have some form of multi-agency flood response plan.

2 According to the initial results of the 2008 national capability survey. A more comprehensive analysis is due to be undertaken shortly.