William Eichler 16 January 2018

District councils could be handed flood risk management responsibilities

Local communities could have more say in how rivers are managed after a consultation which aims to transfer ‘flood risk management activities’ to district councils.

The Environment Agency yesterday launched the consultation that could see responsibility for managing flood risk on a number of watercourses given to internal drainage boards (IDBs), lead local flood authorities (LLFAs) and district councils.

If there is enough support, these authorities will be responsible for carrying out activities such as maintenance and giving permission to carry out works.

The move would only happen where the watercourses have a low level of flood risk, are not associated with major rivers or major city centres and where the local community supports the change.

‘The project aims to bring more choice to communities and local organisations in how watercourses are managed and maintained,’ said Rachael Hill, Flood and Coastal Risk Manager for the Environment Agency.

‘We want to strengthen local flood risk management and decision-making by ensuring the right people are managing the right watercourses.’

The Environment Agency is also looking at re-designating some watercourses from what is currently known as a ‘main river’ to an ‘ordinary watercourse’ – a change referred to as ‘de-maining’.

‘We want to hear from anyone who is affected by, or interested in, the proposals,’ Ms Hill continued.

‘This consultation explains how the proposed sections of watercourse are currently managed and funded and provides details on future management and funding if de-maining goes ahead.’

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