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Flooding: Essential Services

Volume 698: debated on Monday 28 January 2008

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What action they have taken since the floods in 2007 in England to ensure that providers of essential services, such as water, energy, roads and railways, are taking robust measures to ensure the provision of their services in the face of the effects of climate change. [HL1302]

Since the flooding last summer, the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform has requested that electricity network operators should review the resilience of electricity substations to flooding. The water industry has appointed Sir John Baker to chair an industry-wide review on how to reduce the impacts of future flooding on water customers, including the vulnerability of water infrastructure to climate change.

We are implementing the various urgent recommendations from Sir Michael Pitt's independent review of the summer's flooding. We will be working with water companies to enable local resilience forums to identify critical infrastructure and assess their vulnerability to flooding.

Operators, emergency planners and responders will be considering, as part of their risk assessments and contingency planning, issues such as the failure of single points of supply and the complete loss of assets.

In addition, one of the Pitt review's interim conclusions concerns infrastructure operating companies presenting the case for further investment in flood resilience through appropriate regulatory processes. In the case of the water industry, this would be through Ofwat's periodic review of price limits.