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17/9/10 - Implementation of the Flood and Water Management Act 2010 (e-mail from Defra)


The Flood and Water Management Act 2010 is the result of the Summer 2007 UK flooding, the Pitt Review and the EU Flood Directive.

There was a Defra Consultation on the Draft Floods and Water Bill April-July 2009.

Due to imminent infraction the Flood Risk Regulations 2009 came into effect in December 2009.

The Flood and Water Management Act 2010 came into effect April 2010.

In my opinion this new legislation (FRR 2009 and FWMB 2010) could have done more to ensure that watercourses were properly maintained - thus reducing the probability of flooding.

Flood and Water Management Act







16/4/10 - Link to F&WMA 2010


8/4/2010 - The Flood and Water Management Bill passed through the Houses of Parliament and became the Flood and Water Management Act 2010. 


Flood and Water Management Act 2010


The Flood and Water Management Bill gained Royal Assent on the 8 April 2010.

The Act will implement several key recommendations of Sir Michael Pitt’s Review of the Summer 2007 floods, protect water supplies to consumers and protect community groups from excessive charges for surface water drainage.


The Act’s provisions include:

·       New statutory responsibilities for managing flood risk – There will be national strategies and guidance on managing flood risk in England and Wales.  Unitary and county councils will bring together the relevant bodies, who will have a duty to cooperate, to develop local strategies for managing local flood risk.

·       Protection of assets which help manage flood risk – The Environment Agency, local authorities and internal drainage boards will be able to ensure that private assets which help manage the risks of floods cannot be altered without consent.  For example, putting a gate in a wall that is helping protect an area could increase the risk of flooding.

·       Powers to carry out environmental works – the Environment Agency, local authorities and internal drainage boards will be able to manage water levels to deliver leisure, habitat and other environmental benefits.

·       Sustainable drainage – drainage systems for all new developments will need to be in line with new National Standards to help manage and reduce the flow of surface water into the sewerage system.

·       New sewer standards – all sewers will be built to agreed standards in future so that they are adopted and maintained by the relevant sewerage company.

·       Reservoir safety – the public will be protected by a new risk-based regime for reservoir safety.  It will reduce the burden on regulated reservoirs where people are not at risk, but introduce regulation for some potentially risky reservoirs currently outside of the system.

·       Water company charges – there will be protection against unaffordable charges for surface water drainage for community groups such as churches, scouts and others.  Future water company charges can include social tariffs for those who would otherwise face difficulty meeting their bills.

·       Protection of water supplies – there will be wider powers for water companies to control non-essential domestic uses of water in times of drought.

·       Other protection for water company customers – there will be new powers to reduce the level of bad debt, new arrangements for managing very risky infrastructure projects which could be a threat to the ability of the water company to provide its services, and updated arrangements for administration of water companies should they get into difficulties.

For further information on the Act see the Defra Flood and Water Management Act web pages.


Flood and Water Management Bill Team


8/2/10 - FRR2009 Groundwater problem - E-mail to Minister

Now in House of Lords Grand Committee Stage

House of Lords - Second Reading completed - 24/2/2010


Finished the House of Commons Report Stage & Third Reading - 2/2/2010 (external link)


25 Jan 2010 : Column 1267   8.01 pm

Flood Risk Regulations 2009

Copy of the Order
2nd Report from the Merits Committee

Motion to Resolve

Moved By Lord Taylor of Holbeach


25/1/10 - Link to Parliament - Committee and Memoranda listing -

22/1/2010 - Latest version of F&WMB

As amended by Committee

                            .pdf version

22/1/10 - Copy of additional Memorandum FW20 from Ewan Larcombe

Link to Parliament - Bill documents -

Link to Parliament - Committee and evidence -

Report Stage - 1/2/2010

20/1/10 - Copy of memorandum FW17 from Ewan Larcombe 

The Committee Stage concluded on Thursday 21 January


the Committee shall (in addition to its first meeting at 9.00 am on Thursday 7 January 2010) meet—




at 1.00 pm on Thursday 7 January;


at 10.30 am and 4.00 pm on Tuesday 12 January;


at 9.00 am and 1.00 pm on Thursday 14 January;


at 10.30 am and 4.00 pm on Tuesday 19 January;


at 9.00 am and 1.00 pm on Thursday 21 January;



Hansard Committee stage: 3rd sitting - 10.30 - 1.00 : House of Commons 12 January 2010

Audio - Committee stage 3rd sitting - 10.30 -1.00


Mr. Robertson: I am grateful to the Minister for giving that explanation, which is now clear. Does he not accept that if the water is resting just below the surface it might, for example, be unsuitable to build on that land? The matter is important because there may be a number of planning applications or, indeed, appeals that revert back to this legislation to determine what a flood area is. It is very important that we get this right. Does he accept—I do not think he does—that water resting just below the surface could constitute flooding? I do not think he accepts that, and that worries me.
Huw Irranca-Davies: No. Water below the surface of itself does not constitute flooding as it is described in the European definitions or the definitions in the Bill. I think I have made it clear that a high water table can itself contribute to a flooding event. That falls within the definition in relation to, for example, flooding of a basement, secondary flooding and things such as that. We will return to the issues surrounding planning later within subsequent amendments and that will be a good debate to have. I have made it clear that I am quite sympathetic to both points that have been raised, but let me take the matter away to consider and see whether we can bring something forward subsequently, because we are aiming to do exactly the same thing.
There is not a necessity to go further in the way that the hon. Lady is suggesting because it would extend the scope of the Bill considerably. However, just to make it clear, in asking the hon. Members for Vale of York, for Upminster, for Cheltenham and for Brecon and Radnorshire not to press their amendments, I am sympathetic to what they are saying. I think we have dealt with the matter already, but I am particularly happy to take away the suggestion by the hon. Member for Cheltenham and have a look at it.

11/1/10 - Link to LGA evidence FW12 (uncorrected)


1. DEFRA have said that they will monitor costs of councils taking on the lead role in local flood risk management and meet any net new burdens if they emerge. But this is not in the spirit of the New Burdens Doctrine which requires that new burdens on councils be identified and accurately costed in advance. The LGA is therefore calling for DEFRA to undertake an urgent reassessment of the expected costs of the lead authority role and to ensure that new costs are met.

 2. While the LGA welcomes new flexibilities in the Bill in terms of consultation and information-sharing, we are disappointed that the provisions defining "lead local flood authority" and other key terms were passed in secondary legislation [Flood Risk Regulations 2009] on 10th December. We hope that these aspects of the Bill will receive appropriate scrutiny as the Bill progresses through Parliament.

 3. We are aware that there is likely to be a shortage of skills and capacity across local government when councils take on the lead role. We therefore strongly recommend that a working group, consisting of local authorities, universities, training providers and professional institutes should be set up as a matter of urgency to make recommendations to the Government on skills and training issues that will need to be addressed as a result the new role to be taken on by local authorities.

Webcast - 7/1/10 - 1.00pm

Hansard Committee stage: 2nd sitting: House of Commons 7 January 2010

Extract -

Q 74Miss McIntosh: I was very taken by what Jean Venables said about the definition of flooding. If she could elaborate a bit more, how would she like to see that further defined?
Dr. Jean Venables: I have a concern about the fact that flooding is defined as when water appears on the surface, yet we know that damage occurs when water reaches within a certain distance—say, 0.3 metres—below the surface. That damages roads, railways, properties and foundations. That is recognised in the benefits of flood systems, so I would want to see that term amended or have reassurance that it does not affect existing practice. I have a real concern about it.


Q 75Miss McIntosh: Am I correct in understanding that there used to be regional engineers attached to DEFRA to do some of the maintenance work? Where have they gone and what was their relationship to the Environment Agency?
Dr. Jean Venables: DEFRA had a team of engineers who, as you said, were regionally based and extremely knowledgeable about local circumstances. They assessed the schemes that came forward. They were disbanded and the duties were taken over by the Environment Agency, so there is very little engineering expertise within DEFRA at the moment, as a result of that group going.
Q 77Mr. Robertson: My question is for Miss Bashford. As I understand it, there is already legislation that requires riparian owners to maintain waterways. It quite often does not happen. Is there a need for this Bill to revisit that legislation, or do you think that the legislation is strong enough but is just not applied? How would you assess it?
Jenny Bashford: River maintenance is another big issue that we have brought up in our representations on this Bill. There are certain obligations on the Environment Agency to do a certain amount of riparian maintenance, which simply is not happening. It is one of those cases where if the organisation that is representing the Government is not seen to be doing their job it does nothing to encourage anybody else to do theirs, so there is a bit of a circular problem going on here. It would be very helpful if there was something in the Bill that put an obligation on the agency—going back to that question about the obligations and responsibilities of the agency—to do some riparian maintenance.

Webcast - 7/1/10 - 9.00am

Hansard Committee stage: 1st sitting: House of Commons 7 January, 2010

House of Commons Committee - amendments - 7/1/2010

18/12/09 - Link to House of Commons - Notices and Amendments

House of Commons passed Second Reading - Tuesday 15/12/2009

Environment Secretary, Hilary Benn, moved the second reading of the Flood and Water Management Bill in the House of Commons. The Bill seeks to address the threat of flooding and water scarcity, both of which are predicted to increase with climate change.

Key areas of the Bill: 

  • requires the Environment Agency to create a National Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management Strategy, which a number of organisations will have to follow
  • requires leading local flood authorities to create local flood risk management strategies
  • enables the Environment Agency and local authorities more easily to carry out flood risk management works
  • introduces a more risk-based approach to reservoir management
  • changes the arrangements that would apply should a water company go into administration
  • enables water companies more easily to control non-essential uses of water, such as the use of hosepipes
  • enables water companies to offer concessions to community groups for surface water drainage charges
  • requires the use of sustainable drainage systems in certain new developments
  • introduces a mandatory building standard for sewers


Floods and Water Bill consultation - responses

Flood and Water Bill consultation -  closed 24/7/2009

 (There were about 650 responses in total. Please check that your response to the consultation has been recorded on pages 119/131 of the Defra document)

19/11/09 - Floods and Water Bill responses - now published (Defra) 1mB.pdf

1/10/09 - Stormy waters for floods bill (NFU)

29/9/09 - Floods Bill in rocky waters (NCE)

24/9/09 - MPs criticise draft Floods and Water Bill (EFRA C'tee)

Read the Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee report (External Link)

5/8/09 - F&WB - CIWEM response (279Kb)

3/8/09 - Selby residents call for one authority to manage floods (York Press)

1/8/09 - F&WB - TCPA response (168Kb  .pdf)

62 ......................

Article 10 of the Floods Directive not only states that Member States should make available to the public the preliminary flood risk

assessment, maps and plans, but also that Members States “shall encourage active involvement of interested parties in the production,

review and updating of the flood risk management plans”9. The empowerment of the EA and county and unitary local authorities to do

this should be made clearer.

30/7/09 - F&WB - East Sussex response (140Kb .pdf)

30/7/09 - F&WB - RBWM response (40Kb .pdf)

29/7/09 - F&WB - Local Government Association - Group response (258Kb .pdf)

NFU concerns over draft Flood Bill

The government's draft Flood and Water Management Bill must ensure there is action rather than endless consultation......  


Riverside Parishes response to F&WB (Thames)

The flow of water in rivers, streams and ditches knows no local government boundaries......


Datchet Parish Council response to F&WB

  1. The Parish Council welcomes the major principles in the Bill...........


National Farmers' Union responds to draft Bill 

'there is no reference to the state of main rivers. The condition of main rivers and their maintenance is of great concern to our members; channel-wide maintenance (including dredging and clearing of bankside vegetation) is vital to both flood risk and water level management. The reduction in cycles of maintenance since the EA took over responsibility for main rivers must be reversed if we are to see the benefits the Bill aims to deliver.'


I have sent the following short submission to the Floods and Water Bill (MV - River Hull FAG)

I am writing on behalf of the ThamesAwash Committee to state that....... (P R Scott)

External link to National Flood Forum website (response document)


In my opinion flooding has become one of the major problems that exists within the UK today.  In order to help solve this very serious issue funding must be made available now before many more lives are lost, family life is disrupted and businesses are affected......  (Mrs G Bolton)

View complete document


Effective drainage reduces the probability of flooding.  While the Draft F&WB clarifies the split powers and responsibility for watercourses, there is still no DUTY to maintain them.

In particular, since the EA took control of CoWs in 2004 and re-designated them as ‘Main River’, maintenance here has been neglected.  In order ‘to minimise the risk of a repeat of the floods in Summer 2007’(F&WB page 34), both ordinary watercourses and Main Rivers must be properly maintained.

Interestingly, two ordinary watercourses in Wraysbury were identified as CoWs, but then never taken over by the EA.  Are these watercourses critical or not?......... (Ewan Larcombe)

 View complete document with photos (2.1Mb MSWord doc)


The Draft F&WB fails to ensure compliance with the requirements of EU floods Directive Article 10 – ‘active involvement of interested parties’

This is because the F&WB phrase - ‘must consult such persons as it thinks appropriate.’ is not the same as EU Article 10 – ‘shall encourage active involvement of interested parties.’  (Ewan Larcombe)

View complete document (58Kb MSWord doc)


Ref Reservoirs flood plans, the Draft Floods and Water Bill fails to consult either Unitary Authorities or Parish Councils in whose area the reservoir is situated.

Furthermore the restrictions on consultation and publication are punitive and offer no review or appeal procedure.  In my opinion the reservoir flood plan should be formally incorporated within the local flood plan.  (Ewan Larcombe)

View complete document with photos (1.9Mb MSWord doc)

 Floods and Water Bill (link to Defra)