The Environment Agency has unveiled plans for tailored flood warning services to be developed to better prepare utility providers, emergency services, insurers, retail and transport companies for flooding.

Organisations can now obtain licences to use live Environment Agency flood warning data to develop specialised flood warning products and services. The Environment Agency hopes that these will help operators take more effective action to protect crucial assets from potential flooding and maintain essential services.

During the 2007 floods, there was £660million in damage to critical infrastructure and services. Over half of water treatment works and pumping stations and 14 per cent of electricity infrastructure in England is situated in flood risk areas, along with some 4,000 km of roads and 2,500 km of railway.

The Environment Agency recently announced that developers are already using its live flood warning data to develop a huge range of products, including smart phone applications for the public.

David Rooke, the Environment Agency's Acting Director of Flood and Costal Risk Management, told FIRE: "The floods of 2007 resulted in considerable damage to crucial services, leaving 350,000 people without water and 42,000 without power.

"We are encouraging operators of critical infrastructure, insurers and software developers to use our new flood warning data feeds, to help better prepare for future floods."

Following the flooding in 2007, the Pitt Review recommended the Environment Agency should develop a flood warning system more tailored to the needs of infrastructure operators.

In March 2011, Defra, the Welsh Assembly Government, Cabinet Office and Environment Agency will conduct a national emergency flooding exercise - Exercise Watermark - to test the country's arrangements to respond to severe, wide-area flooding from the sea, rivers, surface water and reservoirs. Local businesses and communities are being encouraged to take part by signing up at www.exercisewatermark.co.uk

For further information or to register interest in accessing the data, contact commercial.services@environment-agency.gov.uk or call 08708 506 506.





Date posted: 31.01.11