Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
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FLOOD AND WATER MANAGEMENT BILL GAINS ROYAL ASSENT
The Flood and Water Management Bill gained Royal Assent yesterday.
The Act will implement several key recommendations of Sir Michael Pitt’s Review of the Summer 2007 floods, protect water supplies to consumers and protect community groups from excessive charges for surface water drainage.
The Act’s provisions include:
· New statutory responsibilities for managing flood risk – There will be national strategies and guidance on managing flood risk in England and Wales. Unitary and county councils will bring together the relevant bodies, who will have a duty to cooperate, to develop local strategies for managing local flood risk.
· Protection of assets which help manage flood risk – The Environment Agency, local authorities and internal drainage boards will be able to ensure that private assets which help manage the risks of floods cannot be altered without consent. For example, putting a gate in a wall that is helping protect an area could increase the risk of flooding.
· Powers to carry out environmental works – the Environment Agency, local authorities and internal drainage boards will be able to manage water levels to deliver leisure, habitat and other environmental benefits.
· Sustainable drainage – drainage systems for all new developments will need to be in line with new National Standards to help manage and reduce the flow of surface water into the sewerage system.
· New sewer standards – all sewers will be built to agreed standards in future so that they are adopted and maintained by the relevant sewerage company.
· Reservoir safety – the public will be protected by a new risk-based regime for reservoir safety. It will reduce the burden on regulated reservoirs where people are not at risk, but introduce regulation for some potentially risky reservoirs currently outside of the system.
· Water company charges – there will be protection against unaffordable charges for surface water drainage for community groups such as churches, scouts and others. Future water company charges can include social tariffs for those who would otherwise face difficulty meeting their bills.
· Protection of water supplies – there will be wider powers for water companies to control non-essential domestic uses of water in times of drought.
· Other protection for water company customers – there will be new powers to reduce the level of bad debt, new arrangements for managing very risky infrastructure projects which could be a threat to the ability of the water company to provide its services, and updated arrangements for administration of water companies should they get into difficulties.
Notes to Editors
For more information on the Flood and Water Management Act visit: http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/flooding/policy/fwmb/.Two thirds of the flooding in 2007 (which affected 55,000 people in the UK) was caused by surface water flooding which happens when heavy rainfall overwhelms sewers and drains and the water has nowhere to go. For more information on surface water flooding go to: http://defra.gov.uk/environment/flooding/manage/surfacewater/index.htm.More details on concessionary charges for community groups for surface water drainage can be found at: http://defra.gov.uk/news/2009/090928a.htm.Reservoirs were only regulated in the past if their capacity was 25,000 cubic metres or more.
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