Archive for September, 2010

Beware of floods

Parts of the Flood and Water Management Act 2010 come into force on 1st October.  The key feature of the Act is the division of risk.  An overview of all flood and coastal erosion risk management is given to the Environment Agency.  It will develop a national strategy for managing coastal erosion and all sources of flood risk for England.  Unitary and county councils are to take the lead in managing the risk of all local floods within the national and its own local strategies.

These lead flood authorities will have powers to designate structures and features that affect flooding or coastal erosion and which are relied upon for risk management.  Once a feature is designated, the owner must seek counsent from the authority to alter, remove or replace it.  If works are conducted without consent, the authority may issue an enforcement notice requiring restoration of the structure or feature.

Unitary and county councils will also be responsible for the approval of proposed sustainable drainage systems (“SuDS”) in new developments and redevelopments.  Approval must be obtained before a developer can commence building.  It is to be sought and obtained at the same time as planning permission.  A non-performance bond, repayable if and when satisfactory works are completed, may be sought and local authorities will have a duty to adopt and maintain SuDS once completed to their satisfaction.  Adoption agreements will be required before connecting into the public sewage system.

The Environment Agency has already produced a Flood Map highlighting the predicted risk of flooding in any particular area.  This can be viewed via the Agency’s website and makes fascinating and at times alarming reading.  It is also working with the Association of Brisitish Insurers which has already stated that the Coalition Government  “must make investment in flood defences a priority despite the squeeze on spending” (ABI News Release 29 July 2010).

Flooding is an important topic.  Hatherleigh Training advises keeping abreast of proposals.