Published: Thursday, 3rd November 2016
In a report on future flood prevention the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee have recommended a new governance model to coordinate regional delivery of national flood management plans…
MPs on the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee (EFRA), established by the House of Commons, have urged a radical overhaul of flood management in England which would side-line the Environment Agency.
The all-party committee has recommended that a new National Floods Commissioner would be responsible for flood management and would agree with the government’s strategic, long-term flood risk reduction outcomes.
These would be delivered by new Regional Flood and Coastal Boards who would coordinate regional delivery of national plans, in partnership with local stakeholders. The Boards would take on existing Lead Local Flood Authority and Regional Flood and Coastal Committee roles.
As part of this new governance model there would be a new English Rivers and Coastal Authority, taking on national flood risk management roles, currently the responsibility of the Environment Agency.
Committee chair Neil Parish MP insisted: “Our proposals will deliver a far more holistic approach to flooding and water supply management, looking at catchments as a whole.
“Flood management must include much wider use of natural measures such as leaky dams, tree planting and improved soil management. And some areas of farmland should be used to store flood water.”
He added: “Building Regulations must be tightened up to help flood proof our properties if a voluntary code is not agreed by the end of this year. Developers who flout planning rules in high flood risk areas must also be penalised.”
The report argues that developers who fail to comply with planning requirements should be made liable for the costs of associated flooding across a catchment. It also said that water companies should be made statutory consultees on planning applications and that the right to connect surface water to a sewerage system should be removed.
The MPs have also called on the Environment Agency and Met Office to develop clearer methods of communicating flood risk.