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Last edited 18 Feb 2021
Flood and Water Management Act
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.
 Ongoing uncertainty and consultation
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.
In January 2017, The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee launched an inquiry into how effectively the Government was implementing the Act (Ref. Parliament.uk). The inquiry found the government was failing to protect communities from flood risk and was missing opportunities to improve amenity and the environment. The Committee called for a significant improvement in the number and quality of sustainable drainage systems, suggesting that the government had '...adopted sub-standard planning policies which have led to far too few schemes, many of which are of low quality, being installed in new developments'. (Ref Post-legislative scrutiny: Flood and Water Management Act 2010 inquiry.)
 Related articles on Designing Buildings wiki
- BREEAM Flood risk management.
- Building flood resilience.
- Catchment flood management plans.
- Coastal defences.
- Environmental performance of the water and sewerage companies.
- Flood risk.
- Flood risk management plans.
- Future flood prevention.
- Future Water, The Government’s water strategy for England.
- Hosepipe ban.
- Integrated water management.
- Pitt Review.
- Planning for floods.
- Rainwater harvesting.
- River engineering.
- Surface drainage.
- Sustainable urban drainage systems.
- Temporary flood defences.
- Thames barrier.
- The State of the Environment: Water Resources.
- The SUDS manual.
- Water Act 2014.
- Water engineering.
- Water framework directive.
- Water management.
- Water meter.
- Why creating new ponds helps to protect the ecosystem.
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