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  1. ITV Report

Review into Whaley Bridge dam incident to report by the end of the year

An RAF Chinook helicopter flies in sandbags to help repair the dam at Toddbrook reservoir near the village of Whaley Bridge in Derbyshire Credit: Yui Mok/PA Wire/PA Images

An initial report into whether the partial collapse of a dam in Whaley Bridge could have been prevented will be made by the end of the year.

1,500 people were forced to leave their homes beneath the Toddbrook reservoir in August.

The independent review will consider what lessons can be learned.

“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.”

– Theresa Villiers, Environment Secretary

The review will be led by Professor David Balmforth, a former president of the Institution of Civil Engineers.

It 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.
Professor David Balmforth Credit: Institution of Civil Engineers

"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."

– Professor David Balmforth

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.

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