Ceredigion County Council has always held certain responsibilities in relation to ordinary watercourses under The Land Drainage Act 1991, and has historically taken the lead in dealing with surface water flooding incidents.
However, following a number of extreme flooding events during 2007, the Pitt Review was tasked with identifying better legislation for the effective management of flooding.
Published in June 2008 the Pitt Review (Learning Lessons from the 2007 Floods) contained 92 recommendations, including 15 urgent recommendations for improving the service offered to the public.
These recommendations provided the main driver for the measures contained in the Flood and Water Management Act 2010 and hence the National Strategy.
This, combined with The Flood Risk Regulations (2009) which came into force in December 2009 placed greater responsibilities on Local Authority’s for dealing with flood risk.
The introduction of the Flood Risk Regulation 2009 and the Flood and Water Management Act 2010 has changed the way that we look at flooding, and consequently the management of flood and coastal erosion risk.
Flood Risk Regulations 2009
The Flood Risk Regulations 2009 required all Councils to produce a Preliminary Flood Risk Assessment (PFRA), identifying areas where people are at risk of surface, ground and ordinary watercourse flooding.
The Preliminary Flood Risk Assessment is a high level screening exercise that brings together readily available information from a number of sources on past and potential flooding to enable Ceredigion County Council to make informed judgments in relation to local flood risk.
Ceredigion County Council’s Preliminary Flood Risk Assessment was completed in June 2011, and will be reviewed in 2017.
Flood and Water Management Act 2010
The Flood and Water Management Act 2010 provides a definition of flood risk management authorities as ‘organisations that have a statutory responsibility for managing flood and coastal erosion risk’. In Ceredigion, these are:
- Ceredigion County Council (as the Lead Local Flood Authority)
- Natural Resources Wales
- Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water
- Ceredigion County Council (as the Highway Authority)
- North and Mid Wales Trunk Road Agent
The Act also places a greater responsibility on County Councils in respect of surface water management, and clearly defines their roles as Lead Local Flood Authorities.
The preparation of a Local Flood Risk Management Strategy is just one of a number of statutory duties placed upon the County Council under the Act, with the others being a duty to:
- comply with the National Strategy
- co-operate with other authorities
- investigate all flooding within its area
- maintain a register of structures and features likely to affect flood risk
- contribute to sustainable development
In addition Ceredigion County Council has permissive powers, which include:
- powers to request information relating to flooding and drainage
- powers to designate certain structures that affect flood/coastal erosion risk
- powers to undertake works to include broader risk management actions
- the ability to cause flooding or coastal erosion under certain conditions
Ceredigion County Council has produced a Local Flood Risk Management Strategy for Ceredigion, which complements the National Strategy launched by the Welsh Government in 2011 which contained four overarching objectives for the management of flood and coastal erosion risk:
- reducing the consequences from flooding and coastal erosion
- raising awareness and engaging people in the response to flood and coastal erosion risk
- providing an effective and sustained response to flood and coastal erosion events
- prioritising investment in the most at risk communities
Implementing these objectives will be the responsibility of everyone involved, from Ceredigion County Council and Natural Resources Wales through to local communities and individual property owners.