Last edited 01 Jul 2016

Flood and Water Management Act


[edit] Introduction

The Flood and Water Management Act was introduced on 8 April 2010 in England and Wales. It was intended to implement Sir Michael Pitt’s recommendations following the widespread flooding of 2007 when more than 55,000 homes and businesses were flooded (see Pitt Review). The flooding was largely caused by surface water run off overloading drainage systems. The Act was also a response to the need to develop better resilience to climate change.

The Act requires better management of flood risk, it creates safeguards against rises in surface water drainage charges and protects water supplies for consumers. It gives a new responsibility to the Environment Agency for developing a National Flood and Coastal Risk Management Strategy, and gives a new responsibility to local authorities, as Lead Local Flood Authorities (LLFA's), to co-ordinate flood risk management in their area.

Duties include investigating significant flooding incidents (typically defined as five or more properties), maintaining a register of designated flood assets and provision of information.

[edit] Ongoing uncertainty and consultation

Some parts of the Act were not immediately enforced in 2010, and Schedule 3 of the Act has been subject to continual delays.

Schedule 3 would require the inclusion of sustainable drainage of surface water in construction with drainage implications. It removed the automatic right, established by the Water Industry Act, to connect to public sewers and instead gave powers to local authorities as Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) Approving Bodies (SABs) to approve new drainage systems and their connection to public sewers.

SABs would assess whether surface water drainage proposals met a new National Standard for SuDS and Specified Criteria. The SAB also had a further duty to adopt and maintain approved drainage systems serving more than one property and not forming part of the public (adopted) highway. The requirements of Schedule 3 would be phased in within the requirements limited to Major development for the first 3 years.

However, the introduction of the measures has been delayed, with no regulations or guidance in place. The government consulted again on proposals between 20 December 2011 and 13 March 2012. Whilst efforts to implement have included issue of final draft National Standards for SuDS and supporting guidance in June 2014, the approach to charging for the maintenance of adopted drainage systems remained unresolved.

A further consultation was completed between 12 September and 24 October 2014 setting out an alternative approach to the one envisaged in Flood and Water Management Act 2010 through changes to the planning regime. Proposals failed to address the current approach of fragmented maintenance responsibilities.

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