UK opens flood forecasting centre
A joint venture between Government, the Environment Agency and the Met Office should improve the accuracy and timeliness of flood warnings in the UK.The planned Flood Forecast Centre was one of the recommendations in the Pitt Review into the devastating summer flood of 2007.
"[It] will help provide the best possible information and support to existing flood warnings and weather warning services," said Environment Secretary Hilary Benn.
"By combining the knowledge and experience of the Met Office and Environment Agency, we will see a big improvement in the ability to produce earlier flood alerts and more accurate, targeted information to our emergency services, local authorities and utility companies.
"This will give people in areas at risk of flooding more time to protect themselves and their homes and businesses from the effects of flooding."
The official launch of the centre coincided with the publication of the draft Flood and Water Management Bill, designed to improve preparation for and response to flooding as well as conserving water supplies during drought.
Mr Benn said: " We can't stop rain falling from the sky, or make it rain during droughts, but we can be better prepared.
"That's why we are publishing this draft bill, which will help us better protect the public by clearly defining the roles and responsibilities of everyone involved in flood risk management. The bill is about changing the law where we need to.
"We've also been taking action to protect property and prepare for emergencies, including setting up the Flood Forecasting Centre, providing £15 million to local authorities to lead flood management locally and develop surface water management plans, a £5 million fund available to households for personal flood protection and £2 million to improve water rescue, including funding for rescue boats and trained personnel. "
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