Memorandum submitted by Reigate and Banstead Borough Council (FW 14)

 

Amendments to the Land Drainage Act 1991

1. Schedule 2, Clause 24 of the Bill enables the Lead Local Flood Authority (LLFA) to carry out works and use its own resources for Flood Risk Management related to 'surface water runoff and groundwater'. However in a two tier area the LLFA is not being given the powers to carry out similar works related to 'Ordinary Watercourses'. These powers are only being given to Lead Local Flood Authorities in Unitary Areas and to District Authorities in two tier areas.

 

2. At present many District Authorities do not have any Drainage Engineers and do not allocate resources to assist Riparian Owners with maintenance work on Ordinary Watercourses. They just use, or threaten to use, Section 25 of the Land Drainage Act to make Riparian Owners carry out necessary works.

 

3. Clause 32(5) of the Bill gives these powers of enforcement (Section 25 of Land Drainage Act) to all Lead Local Flood Authorities. Therefore in two tier areas there will be Districts who choose to use their own resources to help Riparian Owners in their areas and other Districts who will just refer the Riparian Owners (or their neighbours) to the County Council (LLFA) for enforcement action.. It is therefore likely to become a 'Post Code Lottery' as to whether Riparian Owners receive assistance.

 

4. However, if Schedule 2, Clause 24(6)(b) of the Bill (i.e. the powers to assist the Riparian Owners of Ordinary Watercourses) were also to be given to Lead Local Flood Authorities in two tier areas then they could ensure that there would be a consistent policy across their area.

 

 

January 2010