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Toddbrook Reservoir review underway

Published: 7 November 2019

An independent review into the Toddbrook reservoir incident in August 2019 is currently underway.


The review, commissioned by the government’s Environment Secretary, is being led by former president of the Institution of Civil Engineers, Professor David Balmforth. It is expected to report back to the government in December, with the findings expected to be made public in early 2020.

The review is looking at:

  • the possible causes of the damage, and to identify any issues in the operation, inspections or maintenance of Toddbrook reservoir in the period leading up to the incident
  • the dam’s capacity before 1 August 2019 to survive extreme flood events without collapse
  • the roles of those involved in the supervision, management and regulation of Toddbrook reservoir
  • the lessons learned from the incident in regards to the design, maintenance and inspection of the Toddbrook reservoir, and the application and adequacy of current regulations

The review is not examining the emergency response to the incident. Read the full terms of reference of the review.

The Canal & River Trust is carrying out its own investigation into the event and continues to formulate its repair plan, with construction work not expected to start until after Christmas.

The Local Resilience Forum – a partnership of councils, emergency services, the NHS, the Environment Agency and Public Health England – is co-ordinating debriefs around the emergency response and recovery parts of the incident, and will be carrying out a review of the multi-agency reservoir emergency response plans.

Professor David Balmforth said:

“England has an excellent reservoir safety record and the speedy action of many organisations helped keep the community around Toddbrook reservoir safe during the highly unusual incident earlier this year.

“However, it is important that we uncover the causes of the damage to the dam and identify any lessons which can be learned, and I look forward to taking that work forward.”