As Lead Local Flood Authority (LLFA), Surrey County Council (SCC) has a duty to develop, maintain, apply and monitor a Local Flood Risk Management Strategy (LFRMS) for its area. This Strategy was first published in 2014 however much has changed since then. SCC has therefore refreshed its LFRMS in order to bring it up to date with these changes.
This report provides the Local Committee with a draft version of the refreshed strategy and the rationale behind it.
(Report and Annex attached).
Officer attending: Tor Peebles, Flood Risk Management Strategy and Partnerships Team Leader
The Flood Risk Management Strategy and Partnerships Team Leader introduced the report. The draft strategy is very different from the original strategy in 2014. It is shorter, and does not go into the local detail. Instead it sets out a number of objectives to work towards. The Local Committee is asked to note the strategy, and to support it as it goes to Surrey County Council’s Cabinet at the end of March. The strategy is not about stopping future flooding, but about reducing the impact of it, and building up the community’s resilience.
Following the Caterham flooding, there remain a small number of properties where authorities have not been able to secure access to clear underground watercourses. The officer reported that all Risk Management Authorities are at the table in Caterham, with residents, and are working together.
The Area Highway Manager drew members’ attention to the District Council’s policy for allocation Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) funding, with flood alleviation schemes having high priority. The County Council’s Asset Management Strategy also makes drainage a high priority and this therefore attracts more funding.
Member discussion – key points:
· In response to a question about Objective 4, the officer clarified that the team are always looking to gather more data, and are looking to share this information across agencies.
· Members offered thanks to Tandridge Chief Executive Louise Round and her team for their leadership and support during the Caterham on the Hill flooding, as well as District Councillor Chris Botten and the Parish Council.
· When Somerset and Gloucestershire suffered flooding, they were permitted to introduce a 1% flood levy on their council tax, and yet a higher number of properties were flooded in Caterham than in either Somerset or Gloucestershire.
· A major issue is when Riparian owners do not maintain the ditches on their land. The officer responded that Flood Management Authorities are not able to require people to provide maintenance schedules, but that they are working on a publicity campaign to promote how all landowners with ditches and gullies have a responsibility and a role to play. There are 8000km of ditches across Surrey. A new leaflet is being prepared, and a lot of information is available online at ‘Surrey Prepared’.
· Members acknowledged the traumatic effect of being flooded and said that everything possible has to be done to minimise it.
· The ability to report blocked drains online in a similar way to potholes, should be more widely promoted.
· The strategy needs to include a mechanism for reporting local knowledge.
· The strategy is succinct and to the point, and has embodied local experience within it.
· Objective 6 is welcome given the cumulative impact of small-scale developments.
· Members asked why Woldingham substation is located in the lowest point of the valley, and whether officers have had discussions with the utlility companies about moving. The impact of flooding at this substation would be massive.
· Objective 2 is very important – capital release takes time and requires a lot of match funding, so maintenance is critical.
· Councillors should be told if there are residents in their division who are flooded.
· Mrs Lesley Steeds, District Councillor for Dormansland and Felcourt, asked if officers are lisiaising with Edenbridge on cross-boundary issues. The officer agreed to find out and come back to Mrs Steeds on this question.
· In response to a question on the new auditing process of the gully clearing contract, the Area Highway Manager confirmed that a new contractor has been selected and the new contract will be in place from April.
The Local Committee (Tandridge) resolved to:
(i) Note and comment on the Local Flood Risk Management Strategy’s approach which sets out a more holistic set of objectives to flood risk across the County
(ii) Support the Strategy as it goes to the Surrey County Council’s Cabinet on the
28 March 2017.
The refreshed Local Flood Risk Management Strategy sets out a series of updates
and changes to the Risk Management Authorities (RMAs) business as usual
activities to reduce the impact of flooding in the County. The long term benefits will
include improved maintenance of watercourses and drains, clearer targeting of high
risk areas for investment and effective flood risk management through the planning
process. The broad understanding of delivering these outputs and support for the
strategy will ensure its successful delivery.