Flood and Water Management

Flood and Drainage Protection

In recent years, many of our open spaces have been converted to housing land.  When this is done, much care has to be taken with respect to water run-off.  West End’s soil is mostly heavy clay with the consequential poor water soak-away.  The worst evidence of this is the land behind Chalcroft Distribution Park and the land east of the entire length of Moorgreen Road.  There are rules in place intended to protect us from the excesses of wet weather.  Hampshire County Council are responsible for ordinary watercourses and the Environment Agency are responsible for the rivers and coastal erosion strategy.  Therefore in West End, it is the Environment Agency that ensures everything is as it should be concerning the river Itchen and Hampshire County Council deal with the rest, the ordinary watercourses.

Hampshire County Council are the Lead Local Flood Authority (LLFA).  Their flood risk management strategy can be found on the Hampshire County Council website.  The council has to construct an asset register of areas affected by flood risk.  The law currently requires the drainage of greenfield sites that are to developed for housing, must be improved, but the same is not true for brownfield sites.  Therefore, careful consideration has to be made before building houses on brownfield sites.  As the (LLFA), Hampshire County council is a statutory consultee for Surface Water Drainage on applications for major development. This new role started on 15 April 2015 and requires Hampshire County Council to be consulted on these developments when a planning application is received by the Local Planning Authority.

As a statutory consultee, the County Council are not responsible for determining planning applications or commenting on issues that do not fall within their remit. ¬†However, when it comes to residential development of 10 dwellings or more, then this is considered to be ‚ÄúMajor development‚ÄĚ (as is non-residential development where the provision of a building or buildings comprising a total floorspace greater than 1,000 square metres) and therefore as the LLFA the County Council must take responsibility for ensuring that drainage meets expected standards.

SuDS Approving Body (SAB) function

Schedule 3 of the Flood and Water Management Act (FWMA) calls for the establishment of a Sustainable urban Drainage System (SuDS) Approving Body (SAB) within the LLFA (Hampshire County Council), even though the planning authority for dwellings rests at district level.  This is because it fits well with the County Council’s existing responsibilities for highways and for surface water management planning, as well as their new LLFA role.  HCC have a strategic overview of surface water and flooding issues which is critical in ensuring well designed, effective and sustainable drainage responding to the whole catchment rather than a single housing development.  However, it seems that opinion has changed on the approving bodies and SuDs will become a general planning requirement.

SuDS came about following the Pitt review into the 2007 floods.  They are designed to mimic nature by managing excess rainwater where it falls rather than the traditional approach of channelling it through drains into ponds, reed beds, drainage channels and porous driveways, etc.  SuDS became compulsory on all new developments from April 2014, as mandated by the Flood and Water Management Act.

Water companies are not statutory bodies, they do not have to be consulted.  If developers seek pre planning appication advice they should consult their local LLFA.

Riparian Water Rights

Riparian land ownership relates to common law and covers such things as pipes running through third party land.  The principal tenet is that water must be allowed to flow freely across land and not impeded in any way.  The following are some examples of this;-

  • Permit the flow of water without obstruction, pollution or diversion affecting the rights of others
  • Maintain the bed and banks of the watercourse and to clear any debris, whether natural or artificial, to keep any culverts, rubbish screens, weirs and mill gates clear of debris. ¬†Badly designed trash screens instead of collecting and preventing debris from blocking stormwater pipes and polluting waterways can act as a dam are one of the most contentious areas of floodwater management
  • Be responsible for protection of land from flooding and do not cause obstructions that may prevent the free passage of fish
  • Accept flood flows even if caused by inadequate capacity downstream, but there is no duty to improve the drainage capacity of a watercourse

Guidebook to the responsibilities for a Riparian Land Owner ‚ÄúLiving on the Edge‚ÄĚ.

Below are the County Council contact details relating to floodwater management;-

Enforcement Team who investigate breeches that can result in flooding. ¬†e-mail [email protected]

Surface Water Management Team. e-mail [email protected]

Ordinary watercourse consultation information. ¬†e-mail [email protected]