Britain must change the way it builds houses, protects infrastructure and offers insurance to address a flooding threat that is on a par with terrorism or a flu pandemic, said the head of a report released yesterday. Financial Times

The independent review led by Sir Michael Pitt, chair of the South West Strategic Health Authority, avoided laying blame for the mixed response to last summer’s floods, which caused £3bn of damage to 48,000 homes and 7,000 businesses.

But Sir Michael made sweeping recommendations aimed at bodies from town halls and telecoms groups to insurers and developers.

He said: 'I think we should put this on a par with things like terrorism risk or influenza pandemic where we already have national frameworks in place to deal with these sorts of emergencies.'

Describing the floods as a 'wake-up call', the report also called on local authorities to take a bigger leadership role.