Report Open Access

The 2007 floods in Hull. Interim report by the Independent Review Body

Coulthard, T. J.; Frostick, L; Hardcastle, H; Jones, K; Rogers, D; Scott, M

Executive Summary
In June 2007, the city of Kingston upon Hull experienced unusually high rain fall.
Subsequent flooding caused widespread disruption with damage to 7208 residential and
over 1300 businesses. Following the flooding, Hull City Council commissioned an
Independent Review Body to examine the key factors leading to the flooding in Hull and to
make recommendations for actions to improve flood prevention in the future. The review
body were asked to prepare an interim report in August 2007 and a final report in
November 2007.
Our key findings are:
• Hull flooded because the drainage system was overwhelmed.
• Given the magnitude of the storm (greater than 1 in 150 years) we feel it is
very encouraging that key pieces of important civil infrastructure did not fail.
• Hull’s trunk sewer system is modern compared to other UK historical cities.
• We have significant concerns as to whether the pumping system, that was
re-evaluated for the Humbercare project (post 2000), is correctly designed to
cover a 1 in 30 year storm event.
• Hull’s low lying position increases its vulnerability. Therefore, we
recommend that Hull should have additional levels of protection above and
beyond a 1 in 30 year storm event.
• The availability of additional pumping would increase capacity, provide
backup and contingency should any of the existing pumps fail.
• There were no contingency plans for the failure of Bransholme pumping
station or appropriate protection from flood water.
• Blocked gullies appear not to have been a major factor in causing general
• There was no list of key strategic locations and infrastructure (e.g. pumping
stations, substations etc..) agreed by the agencies
• No single agency (e.g. Yorkshire Water, Environment Agency, Hull CC)
accepts responsibility for any elements outside their own terms of reference
nor have they historically allowed others to influence their own obligations.
This is a recurring theme - one of inadequate consultation, co-operation and
unity between the agencies.
• There is presently no rainfall flash flood warning system.
Our recommendations are:
• For urban drainage, designs based on industry standards to protect from a 1
in 30 year storm event may be inadequate. Additional capacity should be
factored in for climate change.
• We recommend that the EA explore expanding the Floodline system to
cover all types of flood warnings (rainfall and river).
• The flooding in Hull has revealed the difficulties of having multiple agencies
responsible for different areas of the drainage system. We feel it is vital that
the Environment Agency, Local Authority and Water Company closely cooperate
on operation, investment and design.
• Agencies should investigate whether flooding in West Hull could be reduced
by diverting and pumping water through existing and new watercourses.
• We recommend the existing stormwater pumping capacity in Hull be
• We recommend that an independent Drainage Board for Hull is set up.
• Agencies must agree a list of key strategic locations for protection in
flooding emergencies.

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