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Water Companies: Flood Control

Volume 486: debated on Wednesday 14 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what powers he intends to give to local authorities to ensure that water companies do all necessary work for which they are responsible as part of flood prevention programmes. (246787)

Local authorities will be key players in future flood risk management, particularly for surface runoff and groundwater flooding, and for managing its interaction with other sources of flooding.

The Pitt review makes it clear that success will depend on greater co-ordination and co-operation between local partners, and the Government look to these partners to work together closely to establish the most effective arrangements depending on local circumstances.

The Government believe that these objectives will be best met if new partnership arrangements are established to bring together county, unitary and district authorities, the Environment Agency (EA), water companies, sewerage undertakers and other bodies including internal drainage boards, working together to secure effective and consistent management of local flood risk in their areas. It is proposed that these partnerships are underpinned by a new duty on all partners to co-operate and share information with local authorities and the EA. We would expect these organisations to work together to decide the best arrangements for delivery on an area by area basis, taking account of their current roles and capacities. Local authorities working together will have specific responsibilities for effective management of local flood risk from surface water runoff, groundwater and ordinary water courses.