Lead Local Flood Authorities (LLFA), district councils and the Environment Agency are required to designate structures and features that affect flooding or coastal erosion, in order to overcome the risk of damage to a structure or feature that is on private land and which plays a part in the management of risk from flood or coastal erosion.
Once a feature is designated, the owner must seek consent from the authority to alter, remove, or replace it. If an owner makes an unauthorised change to a designated feature, then the authority may issue an “enforcement notice” which will set out any steps that must be taken to restore a feature. An individual may appeal against a designation notice, refusal of consent, conditions placed on a consent or an enforcement notice. The designation also becomes a local land charge.
The authority also has emergency powers to enter a property and correct changes to a designated feature if there is an immediate threat of flood and there is no time to serve an enforcement notice.