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Agenda Item No

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Cabinet Meeting: 28 April, 2014

 

Report of the Cabinet Member for the Environment and Visible Services

 

Local Flood Risk Management Strategy

 

Purpose of the Report

1.         To update Cabinet regarding the progress on the preparation of the Council’s Local Flood Risk Management Strategy (LFRMS) and to gain Cabinet approval for the draft LFRMS.

2.         To update Members on recent developments and future activities regarding the implementation in Wales of the Flood and Water Management Act 2010 and the Flood Risk Regulations 2009.

Recommendations

1.         That Members adopt the LFRMS as Council policy.

2.         That Members agree to the LFRMS being submitted to Welsh Government for review and Ministerial approval under Section 10 of the Flood and Water Management Act 2010.

3.         That Members agree to a Flood Risk Management Plan (FRMP) being produced for the Vale of Glamorgan, subject to suitable funding being made available by Welsh Government.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.         To accept the LFRMS as Council policy.

2.         To gain Ministerial approval of the LFRMS under Section 10 of the Flood and Water Management Act 2010.

3.         To inform Cabinet of a request by Welsh Government for all Welsh Lead Local Flood Authorities (LLFAs) to produce a FRMP and gain approval to produce such a plan, subject to Welsh Government funding.

Background

3.         The general requirements and responsibilities of the Flood and Water Management Act 2010 and the Flood Risk Regulations 2009 were detailed in the Cabinet Report of 8 June 2011 (Minute No C1336 refers).

4.         The Flood and Water Management Act 2010 places a responsibility upon the Council, as a Lead Local Flood Authority, to develop, maintain, apply and monitor a strategy for local flood risk management.

5.         The LFRMS forms the framework within which communities have a greater say in local risk management decisions.  In combination with the National Flood and Coastal Risk Management Strategy, the LFRMS will encourage more effective risk management by enabling people, communities, business and the public sector to work together to:

·           Ensure a clear understanding of the risks of flooding and erosion, nationally and locally, so that investment in risk management can be prioritised more effectively;

·           Set out clear and consistent plans for risk management so that communities and businesses can make informed decisions about the management of the residual risk;

·           Encourage innovative management of flood and coastal erosion risks, taking account of the needs of communities and the environment;

·           Form links between the local flood risk management strategy and local spatial planning;

·           Ensure that emergency plans and responses to flood incidents are effective and that communities are able to respond properly to flood warnings; and

·           Help communities to recover more quickly and effectively after incidents.

6.         The minimum requirements for a Local Flood Risk Management Strategy are summarised below:

·           Identify Risk Management Authorities in the Local Authority’s area;

·           Describe the flood and coastal erosion risk management functions that may be exercised by those Authorities in relation to the area;

·           Set objectives for managing local flood risk;

·           Describe the measures proposed to achieve those objectives;

·           Define how and when the measures are expected to be implemented;

·           Estimate the costs and benefits of those measures, and how they are to be paid for;

·           Complete an assessment of local flood risk for the purpose of the strategy;

·           State how and when the strategy is to be reviewed; and

·           Show how the strategy contributes to the achievement of wider environmental objectives.

7.         The draft LFRMS was presented to the Cabinet on of 14 January 2013 (Minute No C1976 refers).  The report was referred to Corporate Resources Scrutiny Committee on 8 February 2013 (Minute No 828 refers) and Economy and Environment Scrutiny Committee on 12 February 2013 (Minute 853 refers).

8.         The draft LFRMS, including integral consultation questions, was made available for a 6 week consultation period which concluded on 13 May 2013.  Hard copies of the documents were made available at various public buildings, including public libraries, across the Vale of Glamorgan, and a copy was also made available at Bridgend Civic Offices.  The document was also made available on the Council website along with an online response form.  Key consultees included:

·           Welsh Government

·           The Environment Agency Wales (or subsequent equivalent authority, Natural Resources Wales)

·           Countryside Council for Wales (or subsequent equivalent authority, Natural Resources Wales)

·           Dwr Cymru Welsh Water

·           Other neighbouring Local Authorities

·           Community / Town Councils

9.         The final LFRMS was revised in response to the consultation responses, and these changes are identified in Appendix B of the main report.

10.      The production of Flood Risk Management Plans is being promoted by Welsh Government to complement the LFRMS and provide a more complete framework for the management of flood risk at a local level.

Relevant Issues and Options

Local Flood Risk Management Strategy

11.      The Local Flood Risk Management Strategy sets the Council’s principles and provides a strategy to prioritise objectives and risk based action plans relating to flood risk.  Over the next six years the requirements for the Local Flood Risk Management Strategy will evolve and develop as the statutory requirements continue to grow with time and further studies are commissioned and completed.

12.      The LFRMS sets out all the impacts and consequences of flooding faced by the Council.  Through a series of risk based studies; management and maintenance plans will be produced to consider and mitigate the impacts of flooding and climate change.  The strategy should deliver strong community engagement and partnership working to establish priorities and set meaningful objectives for the Vale of Glamorgan that will build over future years.

13.      Through the strategy work, stronger links, understanding and cross agency working are being established with key partners such as the local communities, Natural Resources Wales, water companies and also neighbouring authorities whose actions could impact on the Vale’s flooding and coastal erosions risks.  As well as external stake holders, stronger cross working links within the Council will be enhanced with roles and responsibilities clearly defined.  These will range from planning, highways, sustainability, civil protection, emergency responses and communications, through to ensuring our housing stock and social care providers are well informed to ensure the impacts of flooding on citizens are reduced as far as possible for future generations.

14.      The Local Flood Risk Management Strategy is available in the Member's Room also available via the Vale of Glamorgan Council website.  The document is subdivided into three parts; 'Local Flood Risk Management Strategy', 'Volume 2 Strategic Environmental Assessment' and 'Volume 3 Habitats Regulation Assessment'.

15.      Through the strategy, further work will be undertaken to help establish what the residents and key stakeholders of the Vale understand to be the flooding risks, along with their view and expectations of the Council’s role, and also explore local communities’ appetite for self help and local solutions.

16.      The LFRMS will be complemented by a Coastal Erosion Risk Management Strategy.

Flood Risk Management Plans

17.      The Flood Risk Regulations 2009 state (under Section 26) that:

A lead local flood authority must prepare a flood risk management plan in relation to each relevant flood risk area.

 

18.      LLFAs are only required to prepare FRMPs in Flood Risk Areas, where the risk of flooding from local flood risks is significant.  The Vale of Glamorgan Preliminary Flood Risk Assessment does not identify any Flood Risk Areas, defined by Welsh Government as flooding affecting more than 5,000 properties, and the council therefore has no statutory duty to produce the plans under the Flood Risk Regulations 2009.

19.      The production of Flood Risk Management Plans is being promoted by Welsh Government to complement the LFRMS and provide a more complete framework for the management of flood risk. The Local Flood Risk Management Strategy provides the Vale wide strategy and the FRMP would then contain more detail on specific flood risk hot spots and how the risk should be managed at an operational level in each area.  The 8 LLFAs legally required to produce FRMPs are developing templates and best practice guidance which will be disseminated to the other LLFAs.  Welsh Government has allocated an additional £50,000 to each LLFA to produce a FRMP in 2014/15, although no formal offer of funding has yet been received.

Coastal Flooding and Erosion Strategy

20.      The two Shoreline Management Plans (SMP's) encompassing the Vale of Glamorgan identify the high level policy for managing the risk of flooding and coastal erosion around the Vale coastline.  The Lavernock Point to St. Ann’s Head SMP was adopted as council policy by Cabinet on 3 December 2012 (Minute No C1923 refers), and the Severn Estuary Shoreline Management Plan (Minute No C1125 refers) on 17 November 2010.

21.      The varying policy recommendations will require different strategies for implementation around the Vale coastline.  In some areas the policy changes across the three epochs (0-20, 20-50 and 50-100yrs) and this will require management and engagement with any communities affected.  In some areas schemes will be required to upgrade coastal defences as part of a ‘Hold The Line’ policy. Elsewhere, coastal management plans may be required to explain and manage the impact of ‘No Active Intervention’ policies to communities where the coastline will continue to change as a result of erosion and sea level rise.

22.      An initial assessment of coastal flood and erosion risk is underway with the aim of identifying key areas which will require the development of more detailed strategies, management plans or monitoring regimes.  The study will consider a variety of factors, including coastal geomorphology, land use and SMP policy, to classify and identify these key areas.

23.      This initial assessment will be used as the basis for developing an appropriate framework of coastal strategies, schemes, management plans and monitoring to deliver the Shoreline Management Plan policies.  In turn, this will enable the Council to develop a strong case for attracting Welsh Government funding where coast protection works are identified as necessary within the Vale of Glamorgan.

Current Flood Risk Management Schemes

24.      Coldbrook Catchment Flood Management and Llanmaes Flood Alleviation Scheme are examples of high-risk areas that have been identified and appropriate mitigation steps are being taken through Council and Welsh Government funding.  These schemes have been subject to Cabinet and Scrutiny reports respectively (Minute No C1771 and report to Economy and Environment Scrutiny Committee 9 October 2012 refer).

25.      Several smaller flood risk management schemes have been implemented using capital funding made available after the December 2012 flooding, including schemes in Llancadle, Cowbridge and Llantwit Major. 

Flood and Coastal Risk Management Overview

26.      The development of a robust and comprehensive flooding and coastal erosion strategy for the Council will enable a holistic view of the risks and priorities to be taken, facilitating well informed future decision making to mitigate risks and benefit the residents of the Vale in delivering a sustainable and safer future.

27.      The Council’s coastal defences within the Vale will be assessed and an asset maintenance plan established.  In conjunction with the SMPs this will identify specific areas that need investment to protect the shoreline from coastal erosion and protect local communities and environment from flooding. This will enable a rolling maintenance and capital programme to be developed.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

28.      Welsh Government (WG) provided funding of £90,000 in 2011/12, £90,000 in 2012/13 and £100,000 in 2013/14 to spend on the ongoing implementation of the Flood and Water Management Act requirements and also to support the development of a local flooding and coastal erosion strategy.

29.      Welsh Government has allocated funding of £50,000 in 2014/15 to each LLFA to spend on the ongoing implementation of the Flood and Water Management Act requirements and an additional £50,000 to produce a FRMP, although a formal offer of grant funding has yet to be received.

30.      The funding has been used to procure technical support for the development of the Local Flood Risk Management Strategy. In addition the funding is being used to facilitate the required technologies needed to accurately record and inform the asset register. The information this database will provide will also inform efficient work programmes for maintenance, monitoring and investigation works.

31.      The Welsh Government highlight that the cost of mitigation measures can be significant and cannot be met by currently available funding. They have noted an expectation that local authorities will have to afford additional expenditure in future budget setting and give consideration to additional charges, levies and partnership arrangements wherever possible. Whilst this Council has set aside considerable funding for flood risk management works since 2007, it is recognised that additional funding to this level cannot continue in light of the current budget demands.  National and European funding may be available but is insufficient to afford all mitigation measures required across Wales.

32.      Funding will be allocated strictly on a risk based priority by the Welsh Government to deliver long term investment plans. The development of a local holistic flooding strategy for the Vale of Glamorgan that links with neighbouring flood authorities may help strengthen any future bids that may be required.

33.      The Council will be in a position to bid for any available funding once the Local Flood Risk Management Strategy has been approved by the Cabinet and then endorsed by Welsh Government.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

34.      The preparation of a Local Flood Risk Management Strategy will provide the Council with the appropriate tool to effectively manage the flood risk to its communities, potentially implemented through Flood Risk Management Plans where appropriate. It will permit the Council to review the latest climate change predictions as further information becomes available. It will provide the Council with the strategy that will allow it to direct its resources to obtain the greatest flood risk benefit.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

35.      The Flood and Water Management Act 2010 and the Flood Risk Regulations 2009 impose legal duties on the Council to manage flood risk and these are detailed within the report and appendix.

Crime and Disorder Implications

36.      There are no crime and disorder implications to this report.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

37.      Flooding can affect all sections of the community.

38.      There are no Welsh Language issues in relation to this report.

Corporate/Service Objectives

39.      To maintain a clean and enhanced environment.

Policy Framework and Budget

40.      This report is a matter for Executive decision by Cabinet.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

41.      The Council has a duty to undertake consultation on the Local Flood Risk Management Strategy (LFRMS).  The Flood and Water Management Act 2010 states (in Section 9) that:

“A lead local flood authority must consult the following about its local flood risk management strategy:

(a)          Risk management authorities that may be affected by the strategy (including risk management authorities in Wales), and

(b)          The public.

 

The draft LFRMS, including integral consultation questions, was made available for a 6 week consultation period which concluded on 13 May 2013.  Various public buildings, including public libraries, were used to display hard copies across the Vale of Glamorgan, and a copy was also made available at Bridgend Civic Offices.  The document was also made available on the council website along with an online response form.

Other stakeholders who received the consultation draft and related documents included:

Welsh Government

The Environment Agency Wales (or subsequent equivalent authority, Natural Resources Wales)

Countryside Council for Wales (or subsequent equivalent authority, Natural Resources Wales)

Dwr Cymru Welsh Water

Other neighbouring Local Authorities

Community / Town Councils

All the comments received have been documented within the final draft LFRMS main report in Appendix B.  For each substantial comment a response is provided and where comments have influenced the final strategy this is explained.  Where it was not possible or practical to take account of a comment a reasoned justification is given. LFRMS Appendix B clearly documents the changes that have been made to the strategy as a result of the consultation exercise prior to any agreement by Cabinet.  As this report affects all areas of the Vale of Glamorgan there has been no specific Ward Member consultation.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

42.      Economy and Environment.

Background Papers

The Local Flood Risk Management Strategy (and associated appendices) Member's Room.

 

Contact Officer

Clive Moon - Principal Engineer (Flood and Coastal Risk Management) Tel: 02920 673227.

Officers Consulted

Operational Manager Legal - Committee Reports

Accountant - Building and Visible Services

Director of Development Control

 

Responsible Officer:

Miles Punter - Director of Visible Services and Housing

 

 

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