We are now the Lead Local Flood Authority (LLFA) as defined by the new Flood and Water Management Act 2010 and the Flood Risk Regulations 2009. A link to both these acts can be found in the Information and Resources section of this page.
As the LLFA we are required to develop a strategy to tackle local flood risks, involving flooding from surface water, 'ordinary watercourses', for example ditches, dykes, and streams, groundwater, canals, lakes and small reservoirs.
We will achieve this by working with other organisations, such as the Environment Agency which has a strategic role for all flood risk matters across England and Wales. The Environment Agency is also responsible for flood risk from main rivers, large reservoirs and the sea.
About our work with the other organisations involved
The Flood and Water Management Act 2010 is expected to take effect from April 2011. However, lead authorities are expected to begin putting in place measures to help manage flood risk ahead of this.
After the severe floods of 2007, Sir Michael Pitt carried out a review of the flood events and recommended that Lead Local Flood Authorities (LLFAs) should bring together all relevant bodies to help manage local flood risks. The important roles played by district councils, internal drainage boards, highways authorities and water companies are also recognised in the Act and these bodies, together with the Environment Agency, are identified as risk management authorities.
We have set up the Somerset Strategic Flood Management Partnership to enable all authorities that have flood risk responsibilities to work closer together.
The section below explains our role as Lead Local Flood Authority, and also the responsibilities of the other organisations in the partnership which have a role to play in managing flooding.
Somerset County Council
Before becoming Lead Local Flood Authority, we were responsible for managing some elements of local flood risk. This included maintaining and repairing the highway surface water drainage systems and planning for flood emergencies. We still retain these responsibilities, but since becoming Lead Local Flood Authority (LLFA), we are also responsible for developing, maintaining and applying a local flood risk strategy.
Along with all LLFAs, we are required to:
- investigate all significant flooding incidents;
- maintain a register of flood defence assets;
- act as a statutory consultee in the planning process on surface water for major developments; and
- build partnerships and ensure effective working between authorities that have control over flood risk.
We also have to undertake specific tasks associated with the Flood Risk Regulations, and this includes completing a Preliminary Flood Risk Assessment and identifying flood risk areas.
The Flood and Water Management Strategic Business Plan was agreed by the Council's Cabinet on 21 June 2010. It contains a considerable amount of information relating to the new roles and our responsibilities in light of the emerging legislation. Please find a link to the Business Plan in the Information and Resources section of this page.
Please note that the plan should be regarded as a 'living document' and is subject to regular review as legislative guidance emerges.
The Environment Agency
The Flood and Water Management Act gives the Environment Agency a strategic overview role for all forms of flooding and coastal erosion. They also have direct responsibility for the prevention, mitigation and remedying of flood damage for main rivers and coastal areas.
For more information, please use the link to the Environment Agency's website in the Information and Resources section of this page.
The District Authorities retain their duties under the Land Drainage Act. They are responsible for prevention, mitigation and remedying of flood damage for ordinary watercourses, and for managing flood risks as set out in existing planning laws.
For more information, please follow the link to each District Authority's website on the right of this page.
Internal Drainage Boards
The Internal Drainage Boards will continue to exercise their duties for the general supervision of all matters relating to drainage in their area, including those of an environmental and recreational nature.
For more information, please use the link for the 'Somerset Drainage Board' home page in the Information and Resources section. This page will also provide links to each of the other Internal Drainage Boards.
Under common law, a riparian owner is someone who has a watercourse within or adjacent to any boundary of their property. Where a watercourse is sited between two or more property boundaries each owner may be equally responsible.
Under the new act, riparian owners retain all the duties and responsibilities for watercourses in their land set out in the Land Drainage Act. We have prepared a factsheet containing more details about the roles and responsibilities of riparian owners. You can find this factsheet in the Information and Resources section of this page.
Water Companies will continue to be responsible for public sewers, and will have a more formal role in the management of surface water.
For more information, please use the link to each Water company's website in the Information and Resources section.
How do I use it?
We have a lot of very detailed information about the areas of Somerset that are at risk of flooding, but we would like your help to inform our work. If you have experienced flooding in Somerset, and have information, pictures or video footage that you would be happy to share with us, then we would be very pleased to hear from you.
We will use the information you provide to form a detailed picture of flood risk across Somerset. This will help us understand the communities that are at greatest risk and allow measures to be put in place to prevent the risks were possible. It will also help the communities involved to consider necessary precautions to safeguard their land and properties.
Please contact the Flood Risk Manager on 0300 123 2224 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
What happens next?
Unfortunately, we will never be able to stop flooding from happening, but we can try to better understand the risks in an attempt to reduce the danger to people and property. We have started detailed surface water studies in Taunton and Minehead so that we can gain a greater understanding which will help us plan for major flood risk. We have also started a countywide review of flooding 'hotspots' because if we can improve our understanding of the causes of flooding, we can try to limit it where possible in the future.
Our policies relating to flood risk management are contained in the Flood and Water Management Strategic Business Plan which can be found in the Information and Resources section of this page.
Laws and regulation
Flood and Water Management Act 2010
Flood Risk Regulations 2009