Floods bill ‘must tackle SUDS’

New legislation on water management and flood prevention must make responsibilities clear, ensure adequate funding is provided and tackle the issue of SUDS.

Those were the calls from the Environment Agency, local authorities, water companies and other bodies involved in water and flooding as they gathered to discuss the forthcoming Floods and Water Bill.

A draft version of the bill is currently being drawn up by Government and is expected to be published in the spring.

But the bodies that will be working on the ground to implement the measures in the bill told Government what they wanted to see in the bill at a recent CIWEM conference, in London.

The Environment Agency said one of the major issues it wants to see addressed in the bill is Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDS).

Elliot Robertson, flood and coastal risk management at the agency, said: “We need to improve surface water management.

“This is the key gap in the legislation that needs to be filled. We want Surface Water Management Plans and SUDS firmly adopted and maintained.”

Steven Jones, manager of the Flooding and Water Bill team at Defra, said: “We are looking at SUDS. There will of course be other areas within the bill where we think will touch on this.”

Richard Wills, director for development at Lincolnshire County Council, said councils welcomed plans to clarify what they would be responsible for, and to take charge of dealing with issues locally.

But he raised concerns about where the funding for flood prevention and recovery measures would come from.

“Defra says we will be fully funded,” he said. “But really, I think we don’t know how much money we are talking about and that’s the problem.

“Really we haven’t done enough research to know how much money we need.”

Kate Martin

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie