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Last edited 11 Feb 2022
Lead local flood authorities LLFAs
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 also 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 (LLFAs), to coordinate flood risk management in their area. All areas have LLFAs that are responsible for managing local flood risks; although the Environment Agency remains responsible for managing the risk of flooding from the sea and main rivers and for regulating the safety of reservoirs.
LLFAs are the unitary authorities or county councils in England or the county council or the county borough council in Wales. They are responsible for developing, maintaining and applying a strategy for local flood risk management in their areas.
LLFAs have lead responsibility for managing the risk of flooding from surface water, groundwater and ordinary watercourses. The power for works in relation to minor watercourses sits with either the district council or unitary authorities outside of Internal Drainage Boards (IDB) areas.
- Assess the local flood risk.
- Set out objectives for managing local flooding.
- List the costs and benefits of measures proposed to meet these objectives, and how the measures will be paid for.
After the strategy is decided, LLFAs are responsible for carrying out the works in their areas. In 2011, the Local Government Association (LGA) produced a framework to assist LLFAs with the development of these strategies.
Additional responsibilities for LLFAs include:
- Maintaining a register of flood risk assets. Guidance can be found here.
- Investigating significant local flooding incidents and publishing the results of such investigations. The British Standards Institute has developed a BSI Standard ‘Post-event flood assessments – Guidance on investigating flooding incidents’
- Regulating (under the power of the Land Drainage Act 1991) ordinary watercourses (outside of internal drainage districts) to maintain a proper flow by issuing consents for altering, removing or replacing certain structures and enforcing obligations to maintain flow in a watercourse and repair watercourses, bridges and other structures in a watercourse.
- Undertaking a statutory consultee role providing technical advice on surface water drainage to local planning authorities major developments (10 dwellings or more)
- Playing a lead role in emergency planning and recovery after a flood event. Local authorities are ‘category one responders' under the Civil Contingencies Act and must have plans to respond to emergencies, and control or reduce the impact of an emergency.
Where necessary LLFAs should coordinate the views and activities of other local bodies and communities through public consultation and scrutiny as well as delivery planning. LLFAs should encourage participation in local flood risk management. Local flood action groups (and other organisations that represent those living and working in areas at risk of flooding) may prove to be valuable channels for sharing information, guidance and support directly with the community.
Depending on local circumstances, community involvement could include developing and sharing good practice in risk management, training volunteers (so they can raise awareness of local flood risks) and helping the community prepare flood action plans. By working in partnership with communities, LLFAs can raise awareness of flood and coastal erosion risks.
LLFAs are also required to consult the Environment Agency and other Risk Management Authorities about the strategy and ensure the plans they are making both locally and nationally link up. An essential part of managing local flood risk is taking account of new development in land use plans and strategies.
- Adaptive pathways.
- A day in the life of a one-day design sprint.
- Coast protection authorities.
- Flood and Water Management Act.
- Flood risk.
- Flood risk management plans.
- Future flood prevention.
- Operating authority.
- Pitt Review.
- Planning for floods.
- Risk management authority RMA.
- BSI, BSI Standard ‘Post-event flood assessments – Guidance on investigating flooding incidents’.
- Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and the Environment Agency, Local authorities – new roles and responsibilities.
- Gov.uk, Draft, Lead Local Flood Authority Duty to Maintain a Register, March 2011
- Gov.uk, Flood and Water Management Act.
- Gov.uk, Land Drainage Act 1991.
- Local Government Association, Managing flood risk: roles and responsibilities.
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