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Agenda Item No.

 

 

THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN COUNCIL

 

SCRUTINY COMMITTEE (ECONOMY AND ENVIRONMENT): 12th FEBRUARY, 2013.

 

REFERENCE FROM CABINET: 14TH JANUARY, 2013.

 

 

C1976         LOCAL FLOOD RISK MANAGEMENT STRATEGY (EVS) (SCRUTINY COMMITTEE – ECONOMY AND ENVIRONMENT) -

 

Cabinet were updated on the recent developments and future activities regarding the implementation in Wales of the Flood and Water Management Act 2010 and the Flood Risk Regulations 2009.

 

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).

 

To protect communities in the future, a series of fundamental changes had been made to legislation relating to flooding.  These were:

 

a)  The Flood and Water Management Act commenced in October 2011, to provide better and more comprehensive management of flooding risks for people, homes and businesses in Wales.  This designated each local authority as a Local Lead Flood Authority (LLFA) and placed new responsibilities on them to develop, maintain, apply and monitor a strategy for local flood risk management in their area.  This included all sources of flooding, including ordinary watercourses, surface water run off and groundwater.  The flood management responsibility for main rivers remained with the Environment Agency.  The Act also gave the Environment Agency the strategic responsibility for supervising the management of flood and coastal erosion risk whilst placing the local leadership role with the local authorities.

 

b)  Under the Flood Risk Regulations 2009, the Council was required to undertake and address flooding risks in the local authority area.  The Regulations outline the roles and responsibilities of the various authorities consistent with the Flood and Water Management Act.

 

In December 2011, Welsh Government published their National Flooding and Coastal Erosion Risk Management Strategy for Wales, which established an overall framework for management of all sources of flooding and coastal erosion, setting out strategic aims and objectives, principles, actions and ways of working.  It aimed to ensure all risks were well-managed and co-ordinated, to minimise the impacts of flooding.  There was a duty for each LLFA to produce their own Local Flood Risk Management Strategies and supplementary guidance was available on the structure and content of such strategies.

 

Impacts of the Flood and Water Management Act

On the 6th April 2012 the responsibility and regulatory powers for consenting and enforcement on ordinary watercourses transferred from the Environment Agency Wales to the LLFA.  The Land Drainage Act 1991 would underpin ordinary watercourse regulation undertaken by the LLFAs.  Approval from the Council as LLFA was now required to erect any dam, weir or other like obstruction to the flow of any ordinary watercourse, erect a culvert or alter a culvert in a manner that would be likely to affect the flow of an ordinary watercourse.

 

As LLFA, the Council has a responsibility to investigate all surface water flooding and take appropriate action including commissioning surveys and investigations into the causes, advising third parties on mitigation and undertake work to resolve flooding issues.  Each LLFA must outline to what extent it considered necessary or appropriate to investigate various levels of flooding.  For any investigation carried out by the authority it must publish the findings and notify any relevant risk management authorities. It was proposed through the strategy development that a robust matrix was established to assist in defining what the Council deemed appropriate investigatory responses to varied levels of flooding.

 

The Act provides the LLFA with powers to carry out works to manage flood risk from surface water run off and groundwater.  All works must be consistent with the local flood risk management strategy.  For example, the LLFA may refer to its local flood risk management strategy and decide that surface water flood storage ponds are required to reduce incidents and the consequences of flooding.

 

Interlinking Flooding issues

Coastal defences within the Vale would have to be assessed and a long term risk based protection and maintenance plan would have to be established.  This would establish specific areas that need investment to protect the shoreline from coastal erosion to protect local communities and environment from flooding.

 

Coldbrook Catchment Flood Management and Llanmaes Flood Alleviation Scheme were examples of high-risk areas that had been identified and appropriate mitigation steps were being taken through Council and Welsh Government funding.  These schemes had been subject to Cabinet and Scrutiny reports respectively (Minute Nos C1771 and report to Scrutiny Economy and Environment 9 October 2012 refers).

 

Local Flood & Coastal Erosion Strategy

The Local Flood Risk Management Strategy would very much be a live developing document that would set the Council’s principles and provide the strategy to prioritise objectives and risk based action plans.  Over the next six years the Local Flood Risk Management Strategy would evolve and build as the statutory requirements continue to grow with time and further studies were commissioned and completed.

 

The Strategy would seek to set out all the impacts and consequences of flooding and coastal erosion faced by the Council.  Through a series of risk based studies; management and maintenance plans could be produced to consider and mitigate the impacts of flooding, coastal erosion 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 would build over future years.

 

The Council had a duty to produce a strategy in line with the national strategy and guidance, but may benefit in developing a progressive strategy that compasses all the associated flooding legal requirements and work that was being undertaken across the authority with regards to flooding.  By developing a robust and comprehensive flooding and coastal erosion strategy for the Council, this would permit a holistic view of the risks and priorities to facilitate well informed future decision making to mitigate risks and benefit the residents of the Vale in delivering a sustainable and safer future.

 

An Executive Summary of The Draft Local Flood Risk Management Strategy was attached at Appendix 'A' and a full version was made available in the Member's Room.  The document was subdivided into three parts; ‘Local Flood Risk Management Strategy', 'Volume 2 Strategic Environmental Assessment' and 'Volume 3 Habitats Regulation Assessment'.

 

Welsh Government (WG) provided initial funding of £90,000 in 2011/12 and a further £90,000 in 2012/13.  Only £30,182 was spent in 2011/12 however the balance of the grant was carried forward to 2012/2013 therefore there was £149,818 to spend in 2012/2013.  This was to support the initial implementation of the Flood and Water Act requirements and also to support the development of a local flooding and coastal erosion strategy.

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

 

Funding would 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. 

 

The Council would be in a position to bid for any available funding streams in 2013/14 if our Local Flood Risk Management Strategy had been approved by the Cabinet and then endorsed by Welsh Government prior to 1st April 2013.  It is anticipated that the Cabinet would approve the ‘Local Flood Risk Management & Coastal Strategy’ in early 2013.

 

At the meeting Councillor Curtis commented on the work that had taken place over the last few months in producing the report. The contents of the report was clear evidence that the Vale of Glamorgan Council takes the risk of flooding extremely seriously and that this strategy will be the start of discussions that should help make all our communities more resilient in future years.

 

He further commented that this will be the first Vale of Glamorgan Strategy for local flood risk management and was a key step in ensuring that the risk of flooding was dealt with as a whole. He said that many communities within the Vale of Glamorgan, experienced the severe impacts and consequences of flooding and that it was widely accepted that floods such as these were likely to become more frequent as the effects of climate change developed.

 

In closing he stated that he would hold multi agency meetings to discuss the most recent flooding events and would be producing an information report for all Councillors.

 

This was a matter for Executive decision

 

RESOLVED –

 

(1)       T H A T the Council's responsibility to produce a Local Flood Risk Management Strategy (LFRMS) be accepted.

 

(2)       T H A T  the commencement of formal statutory consultations on the draft LFRMS be agreed.

 

(3)       T H A T this report be referred to the Economy and Environment and Corporate Resources Scrutiny Committees as part of this consultation process.

 

(4)       T H A T on conclusion of the consultation process, a further report be presented back to Cabinet detailing the final strategy proposal.

 

(5)       T H A T thanks be given to all staff, emergency services, residents and local businesses for their support and help during the recent flooding events.

 

Reasons for decisions

 

(1)       To ensure that Members are aware of the requirements of the Flood and Water Management Act 2010, in particular the need to produce a LFRMS.

 

(2)       To ensure that public consultation is undertaken as part of the strategy.

 

(3)       To ensure the views of the relative Scrutiny Committees are obtained as part of the consultation process.

 

(4)       To allow Cabinet to give consideration to the consultation responses received and to agree the final strategy.

 

(5)       To acknowledge community spirit during the floods

 

Attached as Appendix – Report to Cabinet – 14th January, 2013.

 

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