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The Pitt Review - Learning Lessons from the 2007 floods


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Terms of Reference


The Review should be wide-ranging and consider all available evidence on the flooding that occurred in England during June and July 2007, its impacts and what this means for the future. It should hear from those involved at the local, regional and national level, including the public, their elected representatives, public organisations, businesses, the farming community and professional associations. The Review should focus specifically on issues around:

  1. Flood risk management, including the risk posed by surface water flooding and the way in which the public and private sectors might adapt to future risks.
  2. The vulnerability of critical infrastructure, including:
    1. The ability of critical infrastructure to withstand flooding, and what improvements might be made.
    2. The resilience of dams and associated structures, and what improvements might be made.
  3. The emergency response to the flooding, including social and welfare issues.
  4. Issues for wider emergency planning arising from the actual or potential loss of essential infrastructure.
  5. Issues arising during the transition period from the response to recovery phases.
  6. Issues arising during the recovery phase.

The Review should build on previous reviews of the response to serious flooding events, other relevant reports and policy developments including making best use of resources and maximising value for money.


Specific objectives for the Review are:

  1. To understand why the flooding was so extensive.
  2. To learn lessons on how in future we can best predict, prevent or mitigate the scale and impact of flooding incidents in a potentially changing environment.
  3. To look at how best to co-ordinate the response to flooding in future, including the significant social implications for communities.
  4. To establish what access to support, equipment, facilities and information is needed by those involved in the response at local, regional and national levels.
  5. To ensure the public has as much access as possible to information on the risk of flooding to allow them to take appropriate precautions, be adequately informed on developments as an emergency unfolds, and be looked after properly in the immediate aftermath.
  6. To establish how the transition from response to recovery is best managed.
  7. To identify those aspects of the response that worked well and should be promoted and reinforced.
  8. To look at how best to coordinate the recovery phase in the future.
  9. To establish what support and information is needed by those involved in the recovery phase at local, regional and national levels.
  10. To identify those aspects of the recovery phase that worked well and should be promoted and reinforced.
  11. To make recommendations in each of these areas to improve the UK’s preparedness for flooding events in the future.
  12. To make recommendations, drawing on the experience of the flooding incidents, to improve the UK’s broader ability to manage the loss of essential services in any future emergencies.


The Review will be overseen by an independent chairperson, Sir Michael Pitt.

The Review team will be led by the Cabinet Office with support from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Department for Communities and Local Government, drawing on experts from other bodies as necessary.


The independent chairperson, Sir Michael Pitt, will report to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs; the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government; and the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.