Co-operation and responsibilities
The Environment Agency, the Lead Local Flood Authority, and all Risk Management Authorities in Surrey have a responsibility to cooperate with each other to reduce flood risk.
Surrey County Council
Surrey County Council is the Lead Local Flood Authority for Surrey. This role imposes a number of responsibilities both under the Flood Risk Regulations 2009 and the Flood and Water Management Act 2010. In essence this means that the county council has overall strategic responsibility for flood risk management in Surrey, other than that from the 'main' rivers (such as the Thames, Wey, or Mole). When the provisions of the Flood and Water Management Act are fully implemented the county council will also be the consenting body for both land drainage and sustainable drainage works.
The primary responsibility for maintaining ordinary watercourses lies with the riparian owner(s). However, the Lead Local Flood Authority (Surrey County Council) will have responsibility for granting (or refusing) consent to alter ordinary watercourses.
Surrey County Council (as the Highway Authority) is also responsible for highway drainage on all non-trunk roads in the county. Drainage on trunk roads and motorways is managed by Highways England.
Surrey district and boroughs
Surrey district and borough councils have permissive powers to assist riparian owners in maintaining their ordinary watercourses. For more information please select your appropriate borough or district council:
- Elmbridge Borough Council
- Epsom and Ewell Borough Council
- Guildford Borough Council
- Mole Valley District Council
- Reigate and Banstead Borough Council
- Runnymede Borough Council
- Spelthorne Borough Council
- Surrey Heath Borough Council
- Tandridge District Council
- Waverley Borough Council
- Woking Borough Council
Highways England is responsible for managing road drainage from the motorway and trunk road network. Surrey County Council is responsible for all other roads.
The Environment Agency
The Environment Agency is the principal flood defence authority. The Environment Agency (under the Water Resources Act 1991) has permissive powers for the management of flood risk arising from designated main rivers and the sea.
The Environment Agency is also responsible for flood forecasting and flood warning dissemination, and for exercising general supervision over matters relating to flood defence.
A riparian owner owns land or property adjacent to a watercourse or ditch and as such has certain rights and responsibilities.
The primary responsibility for maintaining ordinary watercourses lies with the riparian owner(s). However, riparian owners will have to obtain Ordinary Watercourse Consent from the Lead Local Flood Authority (Surrey County Council) for erecting any dam, weir or other obstruction to the flow of a watercourse, or for culverting a watercourse or altering a culvert. .
The Environment Agency website contains more information on riparian rights and responsibilities.
Private water companies are responsible for water supply and sewerage and are regulated by Ofwat, principally under the Water Industry Act 1991. They are responsible for managing the flood risk associated with their sewer network.
Local flood risk groups and networks
In Surrey there are a number of local flood risk groups and networks.