The European Directive on the Assessment and Management of Flood Risks (2007/60/EC of 23 October 2007) (the Floods Directive) is designed to help member states prevent and limit floods and their damaging effects on human health, the environment, infrastructure and property.
In contrast with current domestic legislation, the Floods Directive advocates a risk based approach to flood risk management. Sir Michael Pitt's interim report on lessons learned from the 2007 floods recommends that flooding legislation should be updated and streamlined under a single unifying Act, which embraces this risk based approach.
The Floods Directive came into force on 26 November, 2007 and member states have two years to transpose the directive into domestic law. DEFRA is co-ordinating transposition within the UK and is ultimately responsible for its timely and compliant implementation. A UK Floods Directive Liaison Group is developing policy on implementation and monitoring progress against the project timetable which, for England, is set out as follows:
Project initiation—August 2007
Consult on draft regulations and impact assessment (including the cost of implementation)—from February 2009
Review outcome of consultation, revise and lay draft regulations by July 2009
Bring into force—November 2009
The cost of transposing and implementing the directive will be assessed prior to consultation. However, existing flood risk mapping and planning arrangements in England already reflect the broad thrust of the directive and new proposals on surface water management to address Pitt will compliment those of the directive so costs will be limited.
The flood risk assessment process required by the Floods Directive must be aligned with the environmental objectives of the Water Framework Directive and carried out in consultation with stakeholders.