Our flood strategies and responsibilities

In 2008, Sir Michael Pitt published a report entitled ‘Learning Lessons from the 2007 Floods’. This report outlined the need for changes in the way the UK is adapting to the increased risk of flooding. In response to this, the Flood and Water Management Act 2010 was implemented.

Under this legislation, Southend-on-Sea City Council is designated as a Lead Local Flood Authority (LLFA) and has the duty to take the lead in the management of local flood risk in the area. We also have the responsibility to work closely with relevant flood Risk Management Authorities (RMA’s). The act also confers powers on the LLFA to enforce flood management policies in the city for riparian owners. Responsibility for the management of flood risk from the sea, main rivers and reservoirs remains with the Environment Agency.

Our responsibilities

As a Lead local Flood Authority, some of our responsibilities are:

  • manage local 'flood risk', defined as flooding from : Surface water runoff, ordinary watercourses, and groundwater
  • develop, maintain, and monitor a Local Flood Risk Management Strategy
  • complete a Preliminary Flood Risk Assessment
  • establish and maintain a register of the assets or features that increase flood risk
  • approve and adopt Sustainable Drainage Systems (SUDS)
  • investigate significant flooding incidents and publish results of these reports

Our strategies

To undertake our role, we have prepared several policies and strategies to manage flood risk in the city. Our key plan is the Local Flood Risk Management Strategy.

Local Flood Risk Management Strategy (LFRMS)

The Flood and Water Management Act requires the Environment Agency to develop, maintain, apply and monitor a national flood and coastal erosion risk management strategy . The Lead Local Flood Authority (LLFA) is required to develop a Local Flood Risk Management Strategy for its area.

The LLFA’s strategy specifies:

  • the Risk Management Authorities within the area and their flood and coastal erosion management functions
  • the objectives for managing local flood risk
  • measures proposed to achieve those objectives
  • how and when the measures are expected to be implemented
  • costs and benefits of those measures, and how they are to be funded
  • the assessment of local flood risk for the strategy
  • how and when the strategy is to be reviewed
  • how the strategy contributes to the wider environmental objectives

Local Flood Risk Management and Flood Risk Management Plan Environmental Report

This strategy aims to outline proposals that we will take to manage local flood risk in both the short term and long term to deliver the greatest benefits to our residents, businesses and the environment.

The following objectives are to be delivered:

  • improve understanding of flood risk and the effects of climate change
  • encourage future development to improve flood risk
  • pursue flood risk management measures using a risk based approach
  • raise awareness of flood risk and management measures
  • use knowledge of flooding to inform the emergency response
  • manage coastal flooding and erosion to hold the current line of defences and maintain the standard of protection

Surface Water Management Plan

Southend-on-Sea City Council, in partnership with local Risk Management Authorities, has prepared a Surface Water Management Plan (SWMP) to understand the risks posed by surface water flooding across the city. The SWMP should not be viewed in isolation but as one that connects with the other strategic and local plans. It identifies features that can increase the risk of flooding. It collates historic data on surface water flood events and mapping data from the Environment Agency and Defra.

The immediate assessments were used to identify ‘hotspots’ where the flood risk is considered to be most severe. These areas have been identified as Critical Drainage Areas (CDA’s). The aim of identifying the hotspots is to facilitate engagements with stakeholders and inform the decision-making processes of future planning and development activities. Several preferred options have been shortlisted for each CDA as well as a range of city wide options to reduce and manage the flood risk.

For a copy of any of our strategic plans, please contact us at LLFA@southend.gov.uk.

Asset register

We are currently preparing a register of all flood asset information from Risk Management Authorities in the city. This will be a living document and more assets will be added as new information is made available or if new assets are constructed.

When we investigate flooding

Under Section 19 of the Flood and Water Management Act 2010, on becoming aware of a flood in the area, Southend-on-Sea City Council will to the extent that we consider it necessary or appropriate, investigate:

  • which risk management authorities have relevant flood risk management functions, and
  • whether each of those risk management authorities has exercised, or is proposing to exercise, those functions in response to the flood.

It is not our responsibilty to resolve the flooding, however, as Lead Local Flood Authority we may investigate the cause and notify any relevant Risk Management Authority or individual. The results of these investigations will be published and made available to the public.

The following criteria must be met before Southend-on-Sea City Council carries out a Section 19 investigation:

  • a flooding incident that has caused a risk to or loss of life
  • internal flooding to five or more residential properties in one location in a single flood event
  • more than one report of internal flooding to commercial properties
  • recurring internal flooding to a single residential property on four or more occasions
  • flooding incident where those responsible or the source are unknown
  • threat to the natural environment or local ecosystem
  • significant flooding to critical infrastructure such as roads, bridges, water treatments works, etc

During significant flood events with multiple incidents fitting the criteria, Section 19 investigations will be applied on a priority basis. Flood events that do not meet these criteria but cause an impact to people or property may be investigated on a risk-based approach at the discretion of the Civil Engineering Team.

You can make a request to view a flood investigation report by sending an email to LLFA@southend.gov.uk.

Contact the Civil Engineering Team

Telephone: 01702 215000

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