Select Committee on Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Fifth Report

3  Surface water flooding

15. Our inquiry shows that two broad, but inter-linked, issues needed to be addressed in relation to surface water flooding: organisational responsibility and improving surface water drainage.

Organisational responsibility

16. No organisation either nationally or locally has overall responsibility for surface water flooding. The consequences of this were apparent in Hull, and parts of Sheffield, in June 2007. When the Meteorological Office forecast exceptionally heavy rainfall over the region, local authorities lacked information to help predict which streets or drains in the city were vulnerable to flood. When the heavy rain started, nobody was responsible for issuing flood warnings to those people whose properties may be affected. When drains in areas of the city began to overflow, it was difficult—and sometimes impossible—to determine who was responsible for certain drainage assets.

17. In England and Wales, the Environment Agency has a general supervisory and management role for river and coastal flooding. In addition, regional bodies (local authorities, Regional Flood Defence Committees, and others) all have some input into the process. Surface water flooding, however, is a very different beast. Whereas a river can be managed as a whole system, surface water flooding is a more fine-grain, localised phenomenon, highly dependent on the urban landscapes and drainage systems of individual towns and cities. To be managed effectively, surface water flooding has to be addressed principally at the local level. Nevertheless, there is an argument that some body should have an over-arching responsibility for surface water flooding at the national level, to ensure consistency in practice and to offer guidance and advice.


18. As part of its 2004 Making Space for Water strategy, the Government announced that the Agency should be granted, by 2009, a "strategic overview" role for inland flood risks, including surface water flooding, similar to the Agency's current responsibilities for river and coastal flooding.[38] Defra carried out an initial consultation with "key stakeholders" on this matter in summer 2007, and a more comprehensive public consultation will begin in June 2008.[39] In evidence, the Agency told us it welcomed being given a strategic overview for all flood risk, and believed it was necessary:

With no single organisation having the strategic overview role for all flooding issues the differing approaches and responsibilities mean that there is no common approach to the management and operation of drainage systems, a lack of joint strategic outcomes and failure to optimise expenditure, particularly within urban drainage systems.[40]

The Agency believed, however, that local authorities would need to take the lead role for surface water flooding at the local level: they were the "folks with levers in their hands", particularly for the local drainage and planning systems.[41] Sir Michael Pitt's interim report, published in December 2007, echoed the Agency's views. His preferred structure was for local authorities to lead on the management of surface water flooding and drainage at the local level, with the Agency having a "national overview" for surface water flood risk.[42]

19. The scope of the Agency's potential strategic overview for inland flooding, and the additional tasks this will involve, are not yet known, and will be soon subject to Government consultation.[43] The Agency told us, however, that it saw the role strictly as being one of "national leadership, co-ordination and advice to bodies".[44] It did not envisage, or want, to have a regulatory role over local authorities, or others.[45] It also was cautious about the Pitt Review's suggestion that the overview involve "developing maps [and] warning systems" for surface water flood risk, similar to its current river and coastal flooding responsibilities.[46] Although the Agency acknowledged that indicative maps could be produced of some areas by August 2008, it would be "extremely difficult" in the short-term to produce the sort of models and maps that could enable the issuing of surface water flood warnings, because the technological forecasting capabilities of the Met Office were not developed enough yet and urban settings were too complex.[47] The Agency said it was "less sanguine than Sir Michael about what is or what is not possible at this current time".[48]

20. Several witnesses, including Water UK (the representative organisation for all UK water and wastewater suppliers), the Association of British Insurers, the Mayor of London and the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM), supported the Government's proposals to grant the Agency an overview for surface water, and other types of inland, flood risk.[49] The Defra Minister of State for Environment also told us he had every confidence the Agency could take on the new role successfully.[50] Other witnesses highlighted the need for an over-arching national organisation for surface water flooding, but were not specific about which organisation should have this role.[51] An alternative approach would be to establish a separate flood control agency to handle all aspects of flood emergency management from forecasting and warning through to crisis management, community support and post-flood recovery, although this did not receive widespread support from witnesses. Sheffield City Council did not want a "huge reorganisation of responsibilities", and the Chairs of Regional Flood Defence Committees believed "far reaching organizational change" could make matters worse.[52] The Agency itself believed such organisational restructuring would be a "backward step", because other European countries were only just beginning to emulate the English model of a single agency responsible for land, air and water.[53]


21. Managing surface water flood risk is intrinsically linked to managing surface water drainage at the local level. Responsibilities for surface water drainage systems are split between various organisations, partly as a consequence of the privatisation of the water industry. Water and wastewater companies are required under the Water Industry Act 1991 to "effectually drain" the areas for which they are responsible, such as public sewers.[54] Local authorities (including highways authorities), Internal Drainage Boards and private owners are also responsible for other drainage assets.[55] Figure 1 provides one interpretation of current responsibilities.

Figure 1: Responsibilities for drainage

Maintenance the responsibility
of the riparian owner but local
authorities have permissive powers
for non-main rivers and
Environment Agency permissive
powers for main rivers

22. Witnesses told us that the current fragmented responsibilities for surface water drainage meant that measures to tackle flood risk were often applied in a piecemeal fashion. Hull City Council described how the same piece of water could flow through the assets of several organisations, yet there was a "clear lack of co-operation […] and joined-up thinking" between the owners.[56] Thames Water said the current situation meant that the various organisations would simply "shift the problem from one place to another".[57] Witnesses also highlighted some areas of the confusion with the current system. Water UK—who described the system as a "muddle"—said it was impossible to determine when, for example, a highway drain (the responsibility of the local authority as a highways authority) became a public sewer (the responsibility of a water company).[58] Hull City Council had produced a map of the city's drainage system since the summer floods, which showed there was "some ambiguity" about ownership of certain assets.[59]

23. Several witnesses, including local authorities, wanted an organisation to "take the lead" on co-ordinating surface water drainage in local areas.[60] Gloucestershire County Council said the law should be changed to grant top-level local authorities (at unitary or county level) a power to take responsibility for surface water drainage. Adequate resources would need to be provided, and this power should include the ability for local authorities to undertake maintenance work on certain parts of the system even though not legally responsible for that part, and then recharge the costs from the owner.[61] CIWEM also wanted local authorities to "grasp" flood risk issues within their area and take a "long-term leadership role".[62]

24. The Water Strategy, published in February 2008, sets out the Government's preferred approach to managing surface water drainage. It also advocates local authorities having a lead role.[63] In evidence, the Minister told us that the local authority, "as the democratic local body", was the "obvious choice" to lead on surface water drainage.[64] The Government's main emphasis, however, appears to be on better co-ordination between the various organisations responsible for surface water drainage, particularly through the use of Surface Water Management Plans (SWMPs). SWMPs were introduced in December 2006 as part of the Planning Policy Statement 25 (PPS25) process, but the Government wants to enhance their role in relation to surface water drainage.[65] The Strategy states:

In critical drainage areas, where the risk from surface water drainage is significant, the local authority should prepare a Surface Water Management Plan. This would be an action plan, agreed by all local stakeholders with drainage responsibilities, to clarify responsibilities and manage these risks.[66]

Sir Michael Pitt's interim report also advocated the SWMP model; he calls for the action plans to be "developed in partnership with the relevant organisations and led by the local authority".[67]

25. One drawback with the current SWMP model is that it is not clear how a local authority can persuade, say, a water company to carry out its responsibilities as identified in the plan. A suggested solution by Sir Michael Pitt was for local authorities to set up "scrutiny committees" to review progress against actions set out in SWMPs.[68] The Government has acknowledged such committees could represent a "potential route for local authorities to use local democracy to encourage participation by all key stakeholders".[69] Another potential problem relates to which authority should be responsible for preparing SWMPs, in the case of two-tier authorities. Where flooding issues cut across district boundaries within a county, the Government's preferred approach is for district councils (as the local planning authority) to prepare SWMPs, with county councils "potentially exercising a scrutiny function across several local authorities, and of course managing highways drainage".[70] The Government is currently consulting on such issues as part of its Water Strategy.[71]

Our views

26. The events of summer 2007 show that surface water flood risk can, on occasions, be as devastating and destructive as traditional river or even coastal flooding. Surface water flood events may also become a more common occurrence in the future, as a result of the intense rainfall expected from climate change. We are not suggesting, however, that as a result the Environment Agency reorder its flood risk priorities. We recognise that the scale of river and particularly coastal events means that they remain the greatest flood risks to England, and continue to represent very substantial challenges for the Agency. The Government's recent National Security Strategy confirms the scale of the risk posed by coastal flooding has the "potential to exceed" the kind of flooding experienced in the summer of 2007.[72] It is right that the Environment Agency continue to devote the majority of its resources into river and coastal flood risk management, and the building and maintaining of river and coastal flood defences. However, management of surface water flood risk can not remain in its current unclear and chaotic state. A key first step for Government must be to determine organisational responsibility for surface water flooding. We reject the idea of a dedicated Flood Agency.

27. The local authority must be the key player in managing surface water flood risk. However, we see the sense of an over-arching body having responsibility for surface water flooding at the national level, to provide best guidance and monitor progress. We agree that the Agency is the best-placed organisation to take a strategic role at the national level in relation to surface water (and other inland) flooding.

28. The Environment Agency—as with several Defra-affiliated agencies—is already experiencing budgetary pressures. It also has problems recruiting and retaining certain professions, such as flood risk engineers. The Agency's overview role needs careful specification. The Government must not add further responsibilities and functions to the Agency at a rate greater than it can absorb through recruitment, training and other preparatory measures. Increased responsibilities must be adequately funded. The Government must also not place unrealistic expectations on the Agency in relation to the modelling and mapping of surface water flood risk, as this will raise public expectations unrealistically.

29. In determining an overview role, the future relationship between the Agency and local authorities must be carefully articulated and defined in order to produce lines of accountability. This relationship is key to the future management of surface water flood risk. We believe the main purpose of the Agency's overview role should be to provide guidance and advice to local authorities on managing surface water flood risk, to provide quality-assurance of local authorities' plans to manage surface water flood risk, and to ensure consistency in practice between local authorities.

30. We agree that local authorities are the most appropriate organisation to take on the management of surface water drainage at the local level. Local authorities are often the highways authority in their area and are responsible for land use and planning and control. They also have the advantage of local democratic accountability. Local authority leadership would also follow the approach successfully adopted elsewhere in Europe, such as Germany and France.
The French surface water drainage system

In France, local authorities at the commune level have significant responsibility for the management of surface water drainage in their areas. They are responsible for the provision of water and sewerage services, although 80% of the communes contract part of these services out to private companies. Under the 1992 Water Quality Law, communes have powers to determine areas where measures must be taken to limit impermeable areas, and to ensure control of the rainwater flow and runoff. They can also determine areas where sustainable drainage systems must be provided to ensure collection, eventual storage and, if necessary, treatment of rainwater and runoff. Local authorities may also form local community water associations, bodies with powers to maintain and improve private drainage assets, if it deems necessary. Communes also have a duty to inform residents when they are aware of a flood risk to the community.

31. We are not convinced, however, that more plans are, on their own, the answer. Even if local authorities are granted the lead in carrying through an enhanced Surface Water Management Plan (SWMP), we have doubts about their abilities to persuade other organisations—such as water companies, who own most of the drainage assets—to carry out their surface water drainage responsibilities identified in the SWMP. We are also not convinced that establishing "local authority scrutiny committees" will be sufficient to enforce action by others, without a duty being placed on responsible organisations. The model for Surface Water Management Plans (SWMP) currently advocated by Government lacks clarity about how co-ordination will be achieved between organisations responsible for surface water drainage in a particular area. In particular, the model does not explain how organisations can be persuaded to fulfil their responsibilities under such plans. In its response to our Report, the Government should set out clearly how the benefits of co-operation will be turned into action. It should also explain how it intends the enhanced SWMPs to fit alongside the existing system of Catchment Flood Management Plans and River Basin Management Plans.

32. From our standpoint, we believe a stronger legal requirement will be necessary to ensure that action happens on the ground. Local authorities should have a statutory duty for surface water drainage. It should be the duty of a local authority to ensure its area is, and continues to be, effectively drained of precipitation to an agreed national standard of service. This duty would be similar to the duty water companies have under Section 94 of the Water Industry Act, to drain the areas for which they are responsible. It is likely local authorities would need to employ a risk-based approach to allocate their limited available funds.

33. Where the local wastewater utility and/or Internal Drainage Board has ownership of, or responsibility for, parts of the drainage system, local authorities should have the power to sub-contract part of their responsibility for ensuring effective drainage to those organisations, and to require their co-operation in managing surface water drainage on an area basis. This co-operation should include sharing data on assets and flood risk. In extreme cases this could include re-design and replacement of sewer systems to higher standards, or changed management of public green spaces to protect them as overland flood routes.

34. A first necessary step to ensure local authorities can fulfil these responsibilities is clarity about the ownership of the different drainage assets in an area. The Government should accept the Pitt Review's interim conclusion that local authorities be required to compile a register of all the main flood risk management and drainage assets (overland and underground), including an assessment of their condition and details of the responsible owners. The register should also determine physically where one organisation's responsibility ends and another one's begins. It should be available to the public as a web-based resource. Local authorities could also provide information to members of the public through a one-stop shop telephone number. Local authorities should receive co-operation from other organisations in compiling this register. Upper-tier local authorities should take the lead and, where they exist and where they wish to, parish and town councils should be involved.

35. Following its consultation, the Government must provide a clear steer about which local authority, in two-tier authorities, should take the lead in co-ordinating the management of surface water flooding and drainage at the local level.

36. We recognise that these new responsibilities on local authorities will require a secure funding stream. We suggest one possible solution in the form of reviewing the current arrangements of charging for surface water in paragraphs 44-49 below.

37. We also note that local authorities have very limited water engineering capacity and will initially rely heavily on the advice of the Agency. The Agency itself is suffering from a shortage of flood risk engineers.[73] We recommend that the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills and the Environment Agency develop, and publish, a strategy to address the national shortage in flood risk engineers. If the national shortage in this profession is not addressed, much of the Pitt Review may be impossible to implement.

Improving surface water drainage

38. There are several specific measures that could be taken to improve surface water drainage, including: greater use of sustainable drainage systems; changing the current water charging system to take more account of surface water drainage; and abolishing certain rights in relation to connecting new drains and sewers to the existing public sewerage system, and the paving over of front gardens with impermeable surfaces without planning permission. Many witnesses highlighted these issues, and they were also addressed in both the Pitt Review's interim report and the Government's Water Strategy.


39. A "sustainable drainage system" (SUDs) is a generic term to describe several different physical drainage schemes that can be installed or retro-fitted onto individual properties, or in neighbourhoods. SUDs aim to mimic natural processes by absorbing and slowing down water, thus easing the pressure on the traditional public drainage and sewerage system. They can operate at the level of individual properties (green roofs, water butts, soakaways in garden areas and porous paving of driveways), within neighbourhoods (swales, detention basins and porous paving of highways), and at the strategic level (through features such as large balancing ponds).[74] SUDs can sometimes provide other benefits, such as improving water quality, protection of water resources and groundwater recharge, amenity and biodiversity.[75]

40. The UK's approach to SUDs is not as advanced as several other European countries, although some examples of SUDs infrastructure have been implemented in recent years.[76] Germany, for example, has been at the forefront of encouraging property owners to install SUDs. Some 13.5 million square metres of green roofs (about 14% of the total area of roof in the country) had been constructed by 2003.[77] This was achieved by different measures in each municipality, including through planning requirements (a given proportion of a site must be green), subsidies for green roof construction, and charging for surface water drainage and providing discounts for green roof adoption.[78] The extent of the use of rainwater harvesting in Germany, whereby rainwater is captured and 'recycled', is estimated to be about 100 times that in the UK; the market was worth €340 million per annum in 2005.[79] In evidence, the Minister acknowledged that a "great lesson" could be learnt from Germany about sustainable water practices.[80] We were also impressed by the use of various SUDs techniques at the neighbourhood or strategic level, such as swales and balancing ponds, in Lyon during our visit to the region.

41. The vast majority of submissions to our inquiry supported more widespread use of SUDs in England.[81] However, a number of barriers were said to prevent wider use of the systems. First, the current lack of clarity about who was responsible for the ownership and long-term maintenance of communal or public SUDs was said to deter developers.[82] Many witnesses were themselves undecided about who should have this responsibility—local authorities, water companies, or others—but almost all wanted Government to clarify the issue as soon as possible.[83] The Government has since announced in its Water Strategy that it will consult on options for resolving the barriers for greater take-up of SUDs, including options for ownership and adoption of SUDs.[84] Second, we were told that current planning requirements, under Planning Policy Statement 25 (PPS25), were not strong enough to encourage more widespread adoption of SUDs.[85] Severn Trent Water believed legislative changes were needed to ensure local authorities had the power to insist developers install SUDs on new buildings.[86] Third, some witnesses noted that it was easier and cheaper to incorporate SUDs in new development, but it was often difficult to retro-fit onto existing houses and other developments.[87]

Our views

42. The lack of clarity about responsibility for the ownership and maintenance seems to be holding back the adoption of SUDs. We believe local authorities should be responsible for the ultimate ownership and maintenance of sustainable drainage systems (SUDs), as happens elsewhere in Europe. Local authorities already have a number of key roles that link to SUDs, in land planning, managing open spaces, as highways authority, and their wider responsibilities for local sustainability issues. This new responsibility would be an integral part of their statutory duty for surface water drainage. The Government needs to resolve ownership and maintenance issues as a matter of urgency to enable the current house-building and eco-towns programmes to incorporate maximum use of SUDs.

43. There needs to be a stronger requirement on local authorities to insist developers install SUDs on new development, as often as is feasible. A presumption in favour of SUDs should be included in the Planning Bill, to add weight to Planning Policy Statement 25 (PPS25).


44. The existing charging system employed by water companies does not encourage householders, businesses, or highways authorities (typically the local authority) to minimise surface water runoff at source. The result is that much surface water is routed into public sewers, which themselves have limited drainage capacity.[88] Currently, charges for surface water drainage and highway drainage (and foul sewage) are included in the general charge for "sewerage", which makes up more than half of the average water bill.[89] There is no transparency about the proportion of the sewerage charge which is made up by each of the three elements, and equally no incentive for property owners or local authorities to minimise their runoff.[90]

45. The charging system is more transparent in several other countries, thus offering an incentive to property owners and businesses to install property-level SUDs to reduce surface water drainage charges. In Germany, for example, the adoption of transparent surface water drainage charges has encouraged a high amount of retrofitting of SUDS, particularly green roofs and water reuse systems.[91] In contrast, water companies in England offer rebates on the wastewater charge for domestic consumers who can prove that they do not make any use of the public sewer to dispose of surface water, but uptake is limited (typically 2-5% of household customers) and the rebate is modest (typically less than £40).[92] Ofwat is encouraging the companies to move progressively to charging large non-domestic consumers for surface water drainage services on an area basis (only four companies currently do so).[93]

46. The Government believes charging for surface water drainage should be "more transparent" and "reward organisations that place a smaller load on the surface water drainage system". As part of its Water Strategy, the Government announced that it will "consider whether funding for surface water drainage should be changed to better reflect the polluters pays principle". This may involve "strengthening requirements by Ofwat for water companies to vary their charges to reflect more accurately the true cost of surface water drainage, including, for example, consideration of how to take account of impervious surface areas".[94]

Our views

47. We believe more must be done to reduce the volume of water run-off going into the public sewerage system by existing householders. Those flooded are often inundated by other people's water; it is therefore reasonable in principle that those who create the runoff should bear the cost of managing it. We welcome the Government's decision to consider, as part of its Water Strategy, changing surface water charging to reflect the "polluter pays" principle. Ofwat should insist that water and wastewater companies state the proportions of customers' bills that are made up of foul water drainage, surface water drainage and highways drainage. Property owners who have, or retro-fit, SUDs should receive a rebate on the surface water component of their water company bill. We believe this would provide an incentive for householders and businesses to adopt SUDS, such as green roofs, as has been the case in other European countries.

48. Local authorities will require funding to carry out their future surface water drainage responsibilities, as identified by the Pitt Review. Beyond making an "initial provision of £34.5 million which may be needed to implement Sir Michael Pitt's recommendations", the Government has not provided any details about how the Pitt Review will be funded in the future.[95] One possibility could be that the surface water drainage component of customers' water bills should be passed to local authorities. If local authorities had a statutory duty for surface water drainage, some of this money would be paid back to the water companies, who would often be sub-contracted by the local authority to carry out work on their parts of the drainage system. This method would at least ensure resources are allocated to water companies to spend specifically on ensuring effective surface water drainage.

49. The Government should take this aspect of the Water Strategy as seriously as some of the other proposals. It would be a more effective policy tool, in directly reducing run-off, than the further regulation proposed in the Strategy—which will mainly affect new development but not the mass of existing build.


50. The Government's Water Strategy set out other policies in relation to surface water drainage, including the abolition of the automatic right of developers to connect surface water drains to the public sewerage system and to change, by the end of 2008, householders' rights to allow them to pave over their front garden without planning permission only if the surface is porous, such as by using permeable paving or gravel.[96] Both policies were previously recommended by the Pitt Review, and received almost universal support from witnesses.[97]

51. We welcome the Government's Water Strategy policies to change householders' rights to allow them to pave over their front garden, without planning permission, only if the surface is porous and to review the automatic right to connect surface water drains and sewers to the public sewerage systems. We harbour some concerns, however, that the latter policy could confuse a means with the end. The end should be to prevent additional surface water runoff loads to either, or both, sewers or watercourses. Our concern is that the abolition of the right to connect to a public sewer may have an adverse effect because developers would instead connect drains to nearby watercourses. To prevent this, we recommend that any new discharge of surface water by drain or sewer to a watercourse should require the consent of the Environment Agency. This requirement should be included within existing planning processes.

38   Defra, First Government response to the autumn 2004 Making Space for water consultation exercise, March 2005, p 17. Defra intends to adopt a "staged approach to implementation, where possible by administrative action". Other changes, however, may require amendments to primary legislation, which could take a longer time [Water: Flood Management: Making Space for Water: Programme of work: Environment Agency Strategic Overview: Inland Flood Risk, 22 June 2007,].  Back

39   Water: Flood Management: Making Space for Water: Programme of work: Environment Agency Strategic Overview: Inland Flood Risk, 22 June 2007, Back

40   Q 904; Ev 335. Back

41   Q 27 Back

42   Pitt Review, Learning the lessons from the 2007 floods, December 2007, pp 46-47. Back

43   Defra, Improving surface water drainage [consultation document], February 2008. Back

44   Ev 335 Back

45   Q 72 Back

46   Pitt Review, Learning the lessons from the 2007 floods, December 2007, p 47. Back

47   Qq 885, 930. The indicative maps are being produced following the Pitt Review's urgent recommendation 2 that "the Environment Agency, supported by local companies and water companies, should urgently identify areas at highest risk from surface water flooding where known, inform Local Resilience Forums and take steps to identify remaining high risk areas over the coming months" [Pitt Review, Learning the lessons from the 2007 floods, December 2007, p 37]. In evidence, Defra acknowledged the maps would be fairly crude (Q 1031). Back

48   Q 885 Back

49   Q 651; Q 483; Ev 480, para 11; Ev 209.  Back

50   Q 1028 Back

51   For example, Jaqui Taylor [Ev 412], Dr Susan Juned [Ev 417].  Back

52   Q 190; Ev 250, para 9.  Back

53   Q 72 Back

54   Section 94 of the Water Industry Act states: "It shall be the duty of every sewerage undertaker to provide, improve and extend a system of public sewers (whether inside its area or elsewhere) and so to cleanse and maintain those sewers as to ensure that that area is and continues to be effectually drained". In February 2007, the Government announced that existing private sewers and lateral drains that are connected to the public sewerage system should be transferred into the ownership of water and sewerage companies. In its Water Strategy, the Government says its is considering how and when the transfer will take place [Defra, Future Water, Cm 7319, February 2008, p 61]. Back

55   Internal Drainage Boards (IDBs) are independent statutory bodies responsible for land drainage in areas of special drainage need that extends to 1.2 million hectares of lowland England. They are long established bodies operating predominantly under the Land Drainage Act 1991 and have permissive powers to undertake work to secure drainage and water level management of their districts. They may also undertake flood defence works on ordinary watercourses within their districts (i.e. watercourses other than 'main river'). Back

56   Q 170, Q 172. The Council said the various organisations had only convened for discussions for the first time after the June floods. Back

57   Q 397 Back

58   Qq 647, 650. Back

59   Q 207 Back

60   For example, Hull City Council [Q 209], Sheffield City Council [Q 192].  Back

61   Qq 357-358 Back

62   Ev 480 Back

63   Defra, Future Water, Cm 7319, February 2008, p 58. Back

64   Q 1022 Back

65   Defra, Improving surface water drainage [consultation document], February 2008, p 19. Defra says that the strengthened framework "should allow for the resolution of existing surface water problems, as well as ensuring that new development does not increase flood risk". Where little development is taking place, SWMPs "should be targeted to resolve existing problems". Back

66   Defra, Future Water, Cm 7319, February 2008, p 58. Back

67   Pitt Review, Learning the lessons from the 2007 floods, December 2007, p 49. Back

68   Pitt Review, Learning the lessons from the 2007 floods, December 2007, p 54. Back

69   Defra, Improving surface water drainage [consultation document], February 2008, p 27. Back

70   Defra, Improving surface water drainage [consultation document], February 2008, p 27. Back

71   Defra, Improving surface water drainage [consultation document], February 2008. Back

72   Cabinet Office, The National Security Strategy of the United Kingdom, Cm 7291, March 2008, p 42. Back

73   Q 927 Back

74   Defra, Future Water, Cm 7319, February 2008, pp 60-1. Soakaways may take the form of stone filled trenches or porous chambers. They can be used for draining surface water from roofs, or run-off from roads and other surfaces. Green roofs are partly or wholly covered by a growing medium, such as soil, and vegetation on top of a waterproofing membrane.  Back

75   Defra, Improving surface water drainage [consultation document], February 2008, p 38. Back

76   Lamb Drove, Cambourne, Cambridgeshire; Manor Park, Sheffield; Elvetham Heath, Hampshire. Defra, Improving surface water drainage [consultation document], February 2008, p 37. Back

77   Gail Lawlor, Beth Anne Currie, Hitesh Doshi and Ireen Wieditz, Green Roofs: A Resource Manual for Municipal Policy Makers (Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, 2006), p 22. Robert Herman, "Green Roofs in Germany: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow" in Proceedings of the Greening Rooftops for Sustainable Communities Symposium. Hosted by: Green Roofs for Healthy Cities and City of Portland, Oregon, 29-30 May 2003. Back

78   Gail Lawlor, Beth Anne Currie, Hitesh Doshi and Ireen Wieditz, Green Roofs: A Resource Manual for Municipal Policy Makers (Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, 2006), pp 21-22. Back

79   UK Rainwater Harvesting Association, www.ukrha.orq. Wirtschaftsfaktor Regenwassernutzung, Mall GmbH [consultants], A rainwater harvesting system collects water that falls onto the roof of a property for subsequent use in non-potable applications, such as toilet flushing, clothes washing machines, car washing and garden watering. A typical domestic rainwater harvesting system provides around 50% of a household's total consumption.  Back

80   Q 1041 Back

81   For example, Oxfordshire County Council [Q 345], Severn Trent Water [Q 370], Stroud District Green Party [FL 57], Wildlife Trusts [Ev 489], Ashchurch Parish Council [Ev 458]. Back

82   For example, Yorkshire Water [Q 285], Internal Drainage Boards north of the Humber [Q 288], Severn Trent Water [Q 371]. Back

83   For example, Greater London Authority [Q 628], Royal Town Planning Institute [Q 628], Leeds City Council [Ev 503], Blueprint for Water [Ev 483]. Back

84   Defra, Future Water, Cm 7319, February 2008, p 61. Back

85   For example, the Institution of Civil Engineers said that PPS25 was "not prescriptive enough" in encouraging adoption of SUDs [Ev 499]. Back

86   Qq 371, 374. Back

87   For example, Thames Water [Q 378], Greater London Authority [Q 627]. Back

88   Defra, Improving surface water drainage [consultation document], February 2008, p 7. Back

89   Ofwat estimated that the average household bill for 2007-08 in England and Wales for both water and sewerage services was £312 (£150 for water and £162 for sewerage). Ofwat, Water and sewerage charges 2007-08 report, May 2007, pp 13, 30. Back

90   Highway authorities, who manage the run-off from roads, are able to connect into a public sewer, but only pay a connection charge (typically around £250) and do not contribute to maintenance costs. Defra, Future Water, Cm 7319, February 2008, p 80. Back

91   In North-Rhine Westphalia, for example, a combination of transparent charging and subsidies resulted in approximately 6 million square metres of surface area being disconnected from the sewer system between 1996 and 2004. Charge rates vary between German municipalities: in 2004, Berlin charged €1.4 per square metre per year and Münster €0.44. Gail Lawlor, Beth Anne Currie, Hitesh Doshi and Ireen Wieditz, Green Roofs: A Resource Manual for Municipal Policy Makers (Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, 2006), pp 120-121, 115, 61. Back

92   Defra, Future Water, Cm 7319, February 2008, p 80. Ofwat, Water and sewerage charges 2007-08 report, May 2007, p 33. Back

93   Defra, Future Water, Cm 7319, February 2008, p 80. Back

94   Defra, Future Water, Cm 7319, February 2008, pp 60, 82. Back

95   HC Deb, 4 February 2008, cols 49-50WS Back

96   Defra, Future Water, Cm 7319, February 2008, pp 59-60. Back

97   Pitt Review, Learning the lessons from the 2007 floods, December 2007, p 133. For example, Water UK [Qq 676, 680], Royal Town Planning Institute [Q 615, 620]. Back

previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2008
Prepared 7 May 2008