Independent review into Toddbrook Reservoir incident to be published by end of year

An RAF Chinook helicopter was brought in to drop aggregate into the damaged dam. Photo - Leon Neal/Getty Images
An RAF Chinook helicopter was brought in to drop aggregate into the damaged dam. Photo - Leon Neal/Getty Images

An independent review into the Toddbrook Reservoir incident over the summer will be published by the end of the year.

The review is set to be led by Professor David Balmforth, former president of the Institution of Civil Engineers.

It will investigate the possible causes of the damage at the dam, as well as identifying any issues in the operation, inspections or maintenance of Toddbrook Reservoir in the period leading up to the incident, which began on August 1.

More than 1,500 Whaley Bridge residents were forced to leave their homes in August over fears the dam could collapse and flood the town. Emergency services, partner agencies and volunteers worked around the clock for several days to pump out the water from the reservoir and make it safe.

Last month, Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers said an independent review into the incident would be carried out to look at what caused the damage to the dam spillway and whether it could have been prevented.

READ MORE: Independent review to be carried out after Toddbrook Reservoir incident
And today, the terms of reference have been published which set out the scope of the review.

Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers said: “I’m pleased that the independent review into the incident at Toddbrook reservoir, which I commissioned last month, is now well underway.

“I expect this review to provide valuable insight into how this incident came about, and I hope it will also offer peace of mind to local residents. The outcome of the review will help inform how we can further improve this country’s excellent reservoir safety record.”

The review will:

* Investigate the possible causes of the damage, and identify any issues in the operation, inspections or maintenance of Toddbrook reservoir, including the dam and spillway, in the period leading up to the incident on 1 August 2019.

* Assess the dam’s capacity before 1 August to survive extreme flood events without collapse.

* Assess the roles of those involved in the supervision, management and regulation of Toddbrook reservoir.

* Consider lessons learned from the incident on 1 August 2019 in regards to: the design, maintenance and inspection of the Toddbrook reservoir; and the application and adequacy of current regulations.

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Professor Balmforth will report back to the Environment Secretary with his findings on the incident by the end of the year, the details of which are expected to be made public early next year following consultation with all parties involved.

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.”

READ MORE: Toddbrook Dam crisis cost Derbyshire County Council £700,000