The Flood and Water Management Act

The Flood and Water Management Act 2010 implements the recommendations from Sir Michel Pitt's Review of the floods in 2007 and places a series of responsibilities on the council. The Flood and Water Management Act 2010 brings into primary legislation a number of changes to the duties of all risk management authorities. Surrey County Council has been appointed as a Lead Local Flood Authority (LLFA) for Surrey. This role places four new duties on the Council in relation to managing local flood risk. This involves close working with other organisations involved in flood and water management, know as Risk Management Authorities.

Where the highway is flooded, this is managed by our Highway Area Offices. You can report a flooded highway online.

Lead Local Flood Authority

The council's implementation of the Flood and Water Management Act 2010 includes discharging five main duties:

  • Apply and monitor a Local Flood Risk Management Strategy. This will be guided by the Environment Agency's National Flood and Coastal Risk Management Strategy Flood and Water Management Act (FAWMA) 2010.
  • Maintain a register of local structures and features that are likely to have a significant effect on flood risk (FAWMA 2010).
  • In the event of a significant flood, investigate to which authorities have flood risk management functions and whether these authorities have or intend to carry out these functions (FAWMA 2010).
  • Provide consultations for the Planning Authority on the design of surface water drainage submitted for major development sites (Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) (England) Order 2015, Sch 4, Para (ze)).
  • Determine and consent, where appropriate, the changes to the structure of ordinary watercourses (Land Drainage Act 1991).

Where a number of organisations have duties which are complimentary or supportive of others, all of the authorities are duty bound to cooperate with the others. in Surrey, these authorities include the 11 district and borough councils, the water utility companies, the Environment Agency and others. Coordination of our work is through the Flood Risk Partnership Board.

Surrey County Council hosts the Surrey Flood Risk Partnership Board, on which all the risk management authorities in the county have a place. The Board has developed and all partner approved and adopted the Local Flood Risk Management Strategy which sets the objectives for the risk management authorities to work towards between 2017 and 2032.

Local Flood Risk Management Strategy

By 2015, the council is required to develop, maintain, apply and monitor a local flood risk management strategy. The legislation notes that it should be a strategy covering:

  • An assessment of local flood risk
  • Objectives for managing flood risk and the measures proposed to achieve these objectives
  • How and when measures will be implemented
  • The cost of the measures, and how they will be paid for
  • The Risk Management Authorities and their functions.

The council's strategy must be consistent with the Environment Agency's National Flood and Coastal Risk Management Strategy.

Register of local structures

Surrey County Council has generated and maintains a register of structures and features, which are considered to have a significant impact on flood risk. This could include structures as small as a wall or underground rainwater storage tank. This register will take the form of a live database, and new structures/ features will be added on a cyclical basis as information becomes available.

The current register of the structures and features which meets this criteria is available to the public and can be downloaded from the Flooding Asset Register webpage.

Further information on the register can be found on the Defra website.

Section 19 – Local authorities: investigations

Lead Local Flood Authorities (LLFA) have a duty to investigate flooding incidents, but not a duty to investigate all instances of flooding. Section 19 was commenced in April 2011 and states:

(1) On becoming aware of a flood in its area, a lead local flood authority must, to the extent that it considers it necessary or appropriate, investigate—
(a) which risk management authorities have relevant flood risk management functions, and
(b) whether each of those risk management authorities has exercised, or is proposing to exercise, those functions in response to the flood.
(2) Where an authority carries out an investigation under subsection (1) it must—
(a) publish the results of its investigation, and
(b) notify any relevant risk management authorities.

This section does not compel the Lead Local Flood Authority to identify all the causes and/or parties which may be responsible for the flooding, only to identify the risk management authorities with relevant flood risk management functions. In most cases, investigations will uncover both criteria. Where it doesn't, the County will work with all parties to try and resolve the issues.

Statutory Consultee

Surrey County Council in its' role as an LLFA is a statutory consultee for surface water drainage designs for major developments. In this consultation our engineers provide advice to the planning authorities on whether the proposals meet the 14 national standards. These standards are not statutory.

In order to get the best out of the planning process the LLFA and planning authorities are working together to develop local policy and understanding of the drainage issues. More details of this can be found in the Local Flood Risk Management Strategy.

Ordinary watercourse consents

In addition to the main statutory duties, the responsibility for assessing and determining consent applications for changes to ordinary watercourses, under sections 23 and 24 of the Land Drainage Act 1991, has transferred from the Environment Agency to Surrey County Council as the Lead Local Flood Authority.

For more information please see the Ordinary watercourse consents webpage.

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