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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Environment and Leisure Overview and Scrutiny Committee held on 28/04/2008
SCOPING REPORT – FLOOD RISK MANAGEMENT IN-DEPTH REVIEW



Summary & Purpose
The purpose of the report is to propose the scope of the Flood Risk Management review in response to the resolution of the Committee at its meeting of 26th November 2007, and in response to the emerging national developments in flood risk management.

APPENDIX A
Waverley Borough Council
ENVIRONMENT AND LEISURE OVERVIEW AND SCRUTINY Committee
28TH APRIL 2008

Title:
SCOPING REPORT – FLOOD RISK MANAGEMENT IN-DEPTH REVIEW
[Portfolio Holder for Environmental Services: Cllr J R Sandy]
[Wards Affected: All]
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Summary and purpose:

The purpose of the report is to propose the scope of the Flood Risk Management review in response to the resolution of the Committee at its meeting of 26th November 2007, and in response to the emerging national developments in flood risk management.

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Environmental implications:

Part of the review will consider how the Council’s policy and processes impact on environmental issues within Waverley.

Social / community implications:

The review will examine the social and community implications of Waverley’s flood defences.

E-Government implications:

Part of the review will be to consider any E-Government implications.

Resource and legal implications:

There are no direct resource and legal implications associated with this report other than the officer time involved in the review. The cost and any legal implications that emerge from the review will be included as part of the final report.
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Background

1. At its meeting of 26th November 2007 the Committee resolved that the review should focus on Waverley’s preparedness to respond to major flooding emergencies and agreed that key partners, including the Environment Agency, Surrey County Council Highways and Emergency Planners, be invited to a future meeting to assist in that review.

2. Shortly after that meeting the Government published its draft review “Learning Lessons from the 2007 Floods” by Sir Michael Pitt (the “Pitt” Review). The draft report, issued for consultation, is to be followed by a second and final report, to be published this summer, which will firm up on areas on uncertainty. The Chairman and Vice-Chairman asked that those recommendations of the Pitt Review that may impact on Waverley should be highlighted and circulated to members of the Committee, for information and consideration. That was carried out prior to the meeting of 15th January 2008. The content of that report is very relevant to the Committee’s own review in that it examines the local authorities responses to the 2007 flooding events and makes recommendations for improvements in the future.

3. The draft Pitt Review presents 15 ‘Recommendations’ and 72 ‘Interim Conclusions’ on the management of those events. Those Recommendations and Conclusions have implications variously to Waverley in its capacity as;

(i) a local authority;
(ii) a member of the Local Resilience Forum; and
(iii) a Category 1 Responder under the Civil Contingencies Act.

4. In February 2008 the Department of Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) issued a consultation on its new Water Strategy “Future Water” which sets out a vision for more effective management of surface water and supplements the recommendations of the Pitt Review. This strategy document forsees a much greater role for local authorities in managing the drainage infrastructure in their respective areas. This would have significant implications for Waverley both in terms of resources and funding and is relevant to the future Waverley Flood Risk Management Policy.

Flood Risk Management Policy

5. The Council’s flood risk management policy is in need of a fundamental review but, given the emerging national developments in this subject, as debated in the “Pitt Review” and “Future Water”, it would be prudent for the Committee to await the publication of the final reports later in the Summer, and any new powers, duties or funding that might emerge therefrom, before determining its recommendations on the Council’s future policy and activities in this matter. In accordance with the Committee’s resolution, therefore, it is proposed that the initial enquiry should be focused on the Council’s preparedness to respond to flooding emergencies. It is proposed that the Council’s more general policy on Flood Risk Management be determined subsequently.

Initial Review

6. It is proposed that the Council’s Safety and Emergency Planning Advisor delivers a short presentation at this meeting on the functions and respective roles of the Council and its partners in responding to flooding emergencies. The Advisor will be supported by the Head of Building Control, Parking and Engineering. Representatives of our partner agencies have been invited to the meeting to be available to respond to Members’ questions arising from the presentation. It is expected that those partners represented will include the Environment Agency (EA), Surrey Fire and Rescue, Surrey County Council (SCC) Contingency Planning Unit and SCC Highways.

Scope of the Initial Review

7. It is proposed that the initial review considers the Council’s position in relation to flooding emergencies as follows;

(i) its current role;
(ii) its future role;
(iii) its level of preparedness;
(iv) the need to enhance that level of preparedness;
(v) the resources available to perform that role; and
(vi) the resources needed to perform that role effectively.

Scope of the Future Review

8. It is proposed that officers present the findings and recommendations of the final “Pitt” Report and “Future Water” Report following their publication (expected late Summer 2008) to inform the review of the Council’s Flood Risk Management policy and strategy.

The Review Timetable

9. March 31st 2008 - Presentation to Committee of the Council’s flooding response role informed by partner organisations in attendance.

April – June 2008 - Officers to research and gather information on issues arising from the presentation.

July – Aug 2008 - Officers, in consultation with statutory partners, to consider the recommendations of the final reports of the Pitt Review and Future Water.

September 2008 - Officer report on the Council’s preparedness for flooding emergencies and on the implications of the Pitt Review and Future Water Report in relation to the Council’s Flood Risk Management Policy.

October 2008 - Recommendations of ELOS to be presented to the Executive.
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Recommendation

It is recommended that;

1. the Committee determines the scope of the initial review following receipt of the presentation and response from partner organisations;

2. the timetable for the initial review and subsequent Flood Risk Management Policy Review, following the outcome of the Pitt Review and Future Water Report, be agreed.

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Background Papers (DoE)

“Learning Lessons from the 2007 Floods”
An independent review by Sir Michael Pitt (The Pitt Review)

Defra – Water Strategy, Future Water (2008)
“Improving Surface Water Drainage”
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CONTACT OFFICERS:

Name: Robin Elks Telephone: 01483 523411
E-mail: peter.driscoll@waverley.gov.uk

Name: Paul Frame Telephone: 01483 523322
E-mail: paul.frame@waverley.gov.uk

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