Essential facilities such as power stations, water plants and transport systems are at risk according to the ICE report launched at an event in Gloucester marking the first anniversary of the floods that devastated much of Gloucestershire.

Flooding: Engineering Resilience called for spare capacity to be built into infrastructure, an end to “yo-yo funding” for flood risk management, and more skilled flood engineers to be employed by local authorities.

The report’s launch coincided with the publication of the Pitt Review into last year’s floods.

It echoed a number of Sir Michael Pitt’s recommendations for better funding, and a national body to oversee flood risk management strategies.

The ICE also called on utility companies to do more than meet minimum standards of flood defences at individual facilities.

David Balmforth, chairman of ICE’s Flooding Group, said: “Last summer’s floods showed us how vulnerable the UK’s infrastructure networks are, and little is being done to rectify the situation.

“The system that gives the people of this country their power, their water, and all the other essentials is stretched to maximum capacity with very little extra tucked away for when things go wrong.

“The fact is we are now facing an increasing risk of flooding in this country and there is only so much you can do to protect the networks.”

At least 350,000 people in Gloucestershire were left without running water for days last July after the floods overwhelmed vital water treatment works.

Thousands of homes were also left without electricity when substations were flooded.

Kate Martin

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