Agenda item


Purpose of the report:  Policy Development and Review


As flooding falls within the remit of the Economic Prosperity, Environment and Highways Board, Members are asked to comment on the refreshed Local Flood Risk Management Strategy for Surrey prior to its approval by Cabinet.



Tor Peebles, Flood Risk Management Strategy and Partnerships Team Leader
Tom Pooley, Flood Risk and Network Resilience Specialist

Declarations of Interest:


Key points raised in the discussion:

  1. Officers highlighted that the Surrey Local Flood Risk Management Strategy was a refreshed version of the 2014 document which addressed issues regarding historically recent flooding events in Surrey, central government shift in policy and ensuring that the document was a clear public facing document.

  2. It was noted that the final version of the document would include specific actions plans that would be attached as appendices.

  3. Members queried what provisions were made for the construction of new buildings on flood plains. Officers noted that Surrey County Council sought to ensure that any new construction undertaken on flood plains had sufficient drainage provision, noting that it must allow for a water run off speed limited to green field rates, normally about 5 litres per second (l/s). However, it was noted that Surrey County Council could have recommended refusal of planning permissions based upon failure of this criteria, however  the ultimate decision is with the local planning authority.

  4. It was highlighted that the strategy would give a clearer indication of the guidelines regarding new constructions on flood plains.

  5. Officers explained that flood management maintenance, and flood risk mitigation, was the responsibility of all relevant parties. It was highlighted that there was a cross authority plan, with input involving riparian land owners and flood action groups, with the aim of ensuring a consistent approach.

  6. It was noted that there was responsibility for flood risk mitigation which was with riparian land owners. However, it was noted that there were grants available for use to assist with the mitigation of flood risks of owned riparian land. It was also pointed out that there was a net maintenance of flood risk management through development improvement of drainage and there was in place a Capital Works scheme to deliver small scale flood risk mitigation projects.

  7. Members questioned as to what the duties of riparian landowners were to mitigate flood risks and what powers Surrey County Council had to enforce these duties. Officers have the power to inspect watercourses, but this is done reactively not pro-actively, the power to enforce maintenance not improvement. The strategy is looking at mitigating flood risk through improving land owner awareness.

  8. Officers explained that any funding for flood risk mitigation projects was distributed through an integrated system in which the partnership board is a key aspect. It was explained that the funding process was a continuing project and that new ways of integration were being examined between all concerned bodies.

  9. Members highlighted that the document was useful in presenting an overall strategic picture for Surrey County Council’s position, however it was questioned whether the document was an informative one for public consumption and if it would serve to reassure that a good strategic plan was in place. It was highlighted that the report would be circulated for public consultation, which would give the service feedback on its public facing accessibility and that the document would be amended to reflect feedback.

  10. Members queried who the public point of contact regarding flooding issues was. Officers noted that the County Highways Officer was a key contact for flooding issues along with the Network Resilience Team.

  11. Officers highlighted the partnership approach taken by the service and noted that multiple organisations, including the Flood Risk Partnership Board, Flood Action Groups and Community Planning Groups, were actively involved with the production and development of the Flood Risk Management Strategy.

  12. Members expressed satisfaction that the plan demonstrated an integrated approach to flood risk management.

  13. Officers explained that there was a programme of maintenance in place on old flood management systems as the risk management authority to ensure that older systems remain free of impedance. It was highlighted that these schemes of maintenance would be in the Action Plan.

  14. It was noted that the service Action Plan would be set by April 2017 although officers would still need to approach district and boroughs for feedback before this time.

  15. Members queried the timescales for delivery. Officers explained that the service would be working with partners to ensure delivery and that the consultation regarding the Flood Risk Management Strategy would continue until December 2016. It was noted that upon implementation of comments, the document would be released for public consultation in January 2017 with the support of the Communications team. A final version would be ready for sign off to Cabinet by April 2017.


  1. It was pointed out by Members that there was some difficulty regarding Parish Councils and their capability to enforce flood risk management measures upon riparian landowners. Officers noted that Parish Councils did not have legal enforcement powers although they could bid for access to small grants to help maintain drainage.

  2. It was agreed that officers would produce a one page briefing on best practice for flood action groups and forums which members could share with local flood forums.


Bob Gardner left the meeting at 11.45


  1. It was highlighted that there could be some issues regarding lines of authority between Surrey County Council and the Environment Agency. It was pointed out that the service should work to resolve these issues and work in partnership with the Environment Agency.


  1. Members agreed that flood forums should be encouraged and documents with details of flooding key contacts should be distributed.

Bob Gardner returned at 11.48



The Board commented and noted the refreshed local flood risk management strategy for Surrey.



  • For officers to provide members with a briefing note on best practice for flood action groups and forums.


Supporting documents: