Page last updated at 09:53 GMT, Wednesday, 25 June 2008 10:53 UK

Key points: Pitt report on floods

After the floods of 2007, which claimed 13 lives and devastated parts of the country, Sir Michael Pitt was asked to carry out a review of the country's flood defences.

His full report, now published, contains 92 proposals he says must be implemented if communities are to be better protected.

The key recommendations are:

• a 25-year plan to address the issue of flooding, along with the creation of a dedicated Cabinet committee

• an overhaul of building regulations for homes built or refurbished in flood-prone areas - these should stipulate appropriate construction materials and techniques and detail what drainage systems need to be put in place

• in general, building on flood plains should be the "absolute exception", done only in areas of genuine housing shortage where there is no alternative land available

• a joint nerve centre run by the Met Office and the Environment Agency - this would hopefully produce more accurate flood warnings based on pooled information


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• definitive electronic maps of all drainage ditches and streams, making clear who is responsible for maintaining them - these should be drawn up by local authorities, which must take a stronger overall lead on flooding in their area

• more investment by utility companies to protect key infrastructure sites, such as electricity sub-stations - companies must be more involved in flood defence planning in order to build greater resilience into the system to cope with times of crisis

• phasing out of sandbags - they are of limited use in protecting homes, and other defences such as flood boards should be used to block doorways

• greater openness in the property market to ensure that buyers have a clear understanding of the risks of buying in a flood-prone area - local authority searches and Home Information Packs should both be required by law to carry that information

• the Environment Agency should work with telephone companies to create an "opt-out" telephone flood warning scheme, in which at-risk people are automatically signed up, even those who are ex-directory

• better preparation by the public - at-risk households should have emergency kits, including torches, wind-up radios, wet wipes and rubber gloves

• a national flooding exercise at the earliest opportunity to test new procedures

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