Have a say on how to reduce flooding
5:57pm Wednesday 5th March 2014 in By Katie Bond, @SwindonAdver007
TIME is running out for residents to give their views to Swindon Council on a proposed strategy to manage the risk of local flooding in the town.
The ten-week public consultation about the Local Flood Risk Manage-ment Strategy ends on Monday.
Local flooding from surface water, groundwater and small streams and rivers is becoming increasingly common, particularly as a result of more frequent heavy rainfalls.
The strategy aims to manage that risk in a way that will benefit people, property and the environment, while accepting that it is impossible to eliminate flooding entirely.
Councils were given new powers and responsibilities under the Flood and Water Management Act 2010, and as a Lead Local Flood Authority, Swindon Council now has a duty to develop, maintain, apply and monitor a strategy to better manage local flooding.
It must work with partners, such as the Environment Agency, Thames Water, other councils and landowners, in the process.
The public consultation is asking for residents views on whether the strategy has assessed the flood risk properly at the most at risk areas.
And whether the objectives of the strategy capture all the important issues, and whether it identifies all the necessary measures and actions that might be required.
The team putting the strategy together have also attended local meetings and held an exhibition at the Central Library last month.
In Swindon, the principal local flooding risks come from surface water flooding.
This is where rain cannot soak into the ground quickly enough, and flooding from the network of small rivers or streams across the Borough that flow into the rivers Ray and Cole.
Some of these small rivers and streams can become inundated in heavy rain, flooding the surrounding land.
Under the new arrangements, the Environment Agency retains responsibility for managing the flood risk from main rivers, such as the Ray and Cole, and the key role of providing flood warnings to the public.
Thames Water retains its responsibility for flooding from sewers.
Councillor Keith Williams, cabinet member for Highways, Strategic Transport and Leisure, which includes flood management, said: “In future, there will be a greater need for everyone to work together to tackle flooding, which will include those at risk of flooding to take responsibility to help themselves.
“By the same token, it is the responsibility of the council to come up with a strategy, with its partners, that makes sure the threat from flooding is reduced through strong planning policies, good land management and regular maintenance of areas of water and the structures that wil control it.”
The full draft strategy, supporting information and a feedback form – which can be completed online or by post – is available at www.swindon.