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ADA urges government to commit to reduce flood risk

The Association of Drainage Authorities (ADA) has called for government commitment to reduce flood risk and deliver effective water level management. The call came as the ADA reiterated its seven-point manifesto.

As the new government now takes shape and Defra begins engaging with the rural community, ADA has reiterated its stance on delivering a proactive and effective service to help reduce flood risk and maintaining water resources.

ADA’s chief executive Innes Thomson and vice-chairman Robert Caudwell said government must give proper consideration to water level and flood risk management.

Thomson said: “Right up there amongst the debate on health, education and welfare should be the subject of water. Without it, we cannot survive and, when there is too much, it significantly disrupts all the other things that are important to us all. And to date, government has ducked the issue of sustainable drainage in England, and now is the time to put in place robust plans to help future development in the long term.”

ADA distributed its suggested plans for the future to all political parties ahead of the June election and is now urging the new government to engage in a collaborative approach and a focus on long-term goals to support effective and sustainable flood and water level management into the future.

ADA’s seven-point manifesto comprises:

  • Long term investment horizons: flood risk management delivers enduring benefits, authorities involved need to be able to plan ahead financially over multiple years and need to receive a sensible balance of capital and revenue funding, spread across the river catchments, in order to find efficiencies and attract business investment
  • Promote co-operation and partnership working to manage the water environment and reduce flood risk: close cooperation between flood risk management authorities, communities, business and land managers needs the continued strong support of government to deliver flood risk maintenance and similar activities more efficiently and affordably
  • Total catchment management: now is the time to increase a catchment-wide approach to managing water from the highest points in our hills and mountains to our estuaries and lowland areas
  • Sustainable drainage systems (SuDS): The government needs to fully implement Schedule 3 of the Flood & Water Management Act 2010, to ensure future development can keep pace with the challenges of the changing climate, by ensuring that SuDS are maintained over the lifetime of a development
  • Support local governance in flood and water level management decision making: in some parts of England there is an appetite for greater local maintenance delivery on watercourses and flood defence assets than that currently afforded from national investment. This can be achieved via the careful transfer of some main river maintenance to local bodies, such as internal drainage boards, where there is local support and transitional funding
  • Local Government Business Rates Retention: it is vital that Special and Local Levy funding mechanisms for drainage, water level and flood risk management continue to be part of this funding landscape to maintain the democratic link with local communities affected
  • Brexit: ensuring a resilient regulatory framework for the water environment: the next government needs to provide clear policy messages about how they wish to deliver environmental improvements to the water environment as we transition from European legislation such as the Water Framework Directive.

Thomson said: “Now is the time for government to engage with industry, the Environment Agency, Internal Drainage Boards (IDBs), Local Authorities and other stakeholders to deliver an effective, locally governed flood and water level management service.”

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