skip to Main Content

Review of the arrangements for determining responsibility for surface water and drainage assets

  • News
Surface Water Flooding & Drainage

Please find below details of the outcome of the Surface Water Review which was carried out by David Jenkins, Wessex Regional Flood and Coastal Committee Chair.

The government has accepted 12 of the recommendations immediately as follows:

  • That local planning authorities ensure that appropriate professional expertise is brought to bear in decision making on all planning applications where there are surface water drainage implications
  • That DEFRA ensure the ready availability of national guidance in relation to Section 19 investigations and reports.
  • That the proposed national guidance include the importance of engaging with local residents and businesses affected by the flood, and of relevant risk management authorities collaborating in the investigation and in the implementation of its recommendations.
  • That the Environment Agency develop and issue national guidance to lead local flood authorities, and also to all other risk management authorities, on the keeping of registers of structures and features which are likely to have a significant effect on flood risk, including from surface water, with a view to seeking a comprehensive set of records for each area, and to securing a common and comprehensive approach for their recording, inspection, monitoring and maintenance.
  • That DEFRA note that designation of a structure or feature under Schedule 1 of the Flood and Water Management Act of 2010, while securing some public benefit, does not in itself create or secure a duty of maintenance, and so other means must be pursued if maintenance of privately owned assets affecting flood or coastal erosion risk is to be secured.
  • That the Environment Agency, in pursuance of their power under section 7(6) of the Flood and Water Management Act, should issue guidance on establishing and maintaining partnerships for these purposes, drawing on existing best practice.
  • That each of these partnerships should report periodically on objectives and progress in delivering them to the appropriate RFCC.
  • That in accordance with the commitment set out in the Surface Water Action Plan, the Environment Agency, in consultation with others as appropriate, review their guidance to landowners on Owning a watercourse, in particular to ensure that this is as clear and comprehensive as possible on riparian owners’ responsibilities for maintenance of watercourses and related features, and that this guidance be promoted widely to those affected by it.
  • That DEFRA consider what further steps the public interest requires to be taken, to ensure the maintenance of privately owned watercourses and related features, including culverted watercourses
  • That DEFRA and the Environment Agency, when reviewing their criteria for the award of grant for flood risk management schemes, ensure that funding is available to support schemes for surface water flood risk management, and that the availability of such funding is communicated effectively to practitioners.
  • That bodies concerned with the allocation of funding for flood risk management should accord proportionate recognition and priority to the financial demands of maintaining existing assets and systems, as well as to providing new ones.
  • That DEFRA consider the extent to which public funding for agriculture may be used to incentivise good practice in the routine management of soil, watercourses and ditches for the benefit of the environment, including the reduction of flood risk.
Back To Top