Collaborative working in new flood and water management role
Thursday, 26 July 2012
Hampshire County Council is set to work with New Forest District Council in an innovative approach to fulfilling the two authorities' respective new responsibilities under the Flood and Water Management Act 2010.
The new arrangement will pave the way in Hampshire by providing opportunities for other district and borough councils to work collaboratively with the County Council in flood and water management duties.
Hampshire County Council became the Lead Local Flood Authority with the introduction of the FWMA 2010, including a new role as the Sustainable Drainage Approval Body anticipated to come into force next year, with responsibility for adopting drainage systems associated with new developments.
As part of the planning application process, developers will be required to submit plans for sustainable drainage as part of their application for planning permission. Drainage system plans will need to demonstrate that additional environmental and social benefits have been designed as part of the drainage schemes. These systems should aim to replicate land's natural drainage and have the potential to provide an infrastructure that blends more sensitively with the local environment, helping to create more appealing areas for the local community to enjoy. This 'green' infrastructure helps to promote the maintenance and formation of more open spaces, for the community's benefit. This has been shown to encourage people to be more active in areas where there is easy access to green spaces.
Councillor Kendal, Executive Member for Environment and Transport, said:
"Although it is not yet clear when our role as a Sustainable Drainage Approval Body will become effective, what is certain is the need for specialist skills and expertise in this area and the wider duties under the FWMA 2010. There is scope for us to work together to build capacity within the two authorities by developing and training existing staff. This will enable staff at district level to assess drainage plans expertly and for us to be assured that plans have been thoroughly and technically examined before they are approved, prior to adoption of the drainage system after construction.
"A shared services arrangement between the County Council and district authorities is an intelligent and practical solution to addressing the need to have a team of appropriately skilled and qualified staff dealing with the elements of work that will come our way as the Lead Local Flood Authority.
"Funding from the Government to carry out our new responsibilities is limited, and there is no certainty that funding will be forthcoming in the long term future. At a time when we are looking for every opportunity to work more efficiently, this is a prime example of how a partnership approach would be very effective."