FLOOD RISK MANAGEMENT AND RIPERIAN LAND OWNERSHIP TASK AND FINISH GROUP
To consider a report by the Democratic Services Officer, to update the Scrutiny Committee on activities of the Task and Finish Group (copy attached).
11.10 a.m. – 11.40 a.m.
- Appendix 1 Flood Risk Management and Riparian Land Ownership Task and Finish Group, item 6 PDF 395 KB
- Webcast for FLOOD RISK MANAGEMENT AND RIPERIAN LAND OWNERSHIP TASK AND FINISH GROUP
The Committee Chair, in his capacity as the Chair of the Flood Risk Management and Riparian Land Ownership Task and Finish Group, introduced the report (previously circulated) which updated the Committee on the Task and Finish Group’s activities. Attached to the covering report was the Task and Finish Group’s final report, which detailed its findings and recommendations, and which sought the Committee’s approval for those recommendations.
At this juncture, Councillor Huw Williams (Chair) thanked all internal and external members of the Group for their diligent work. He also thanked Karen Evans, Democratic Services Officer, for the work she had done and for the excellent report which had drafted on the Group’s behalf.
The Chair outlined the background to the Task and Finish Group’s establishment by the Committee, which was primarily to examine methods to further strengthen interaction and working relationships between public flood management authorities and riparian landowners. He advised that all Group members had learnt a considerable amount about each other’s roles, responsibilities and work practices during the course of the Group’s work. As a result, all agreed that working relationships and mutual trust had been strengthened through the existence of the Group. The Group had also answered a number of myths in relation to responsibilities and permissions sought for river and riverbank maintenance work, such as the actual number of applications received for Flood Risk Activity Permits (FRAPs) from landowners, riparian land ownership responsibilities within the Rhyl Cut and Prestatyn Gutter catchment area etc., all of which were documented within the report. The Group’s work had also highlighted the wide range of information available on each flood risk authority’s website for the public, including an extremely useful frequently asked questions section on the Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water’s website. As a result, one of the Task and Finish Group’s recommendations was that, for ease of access to the public, the Council’s own Local Flood Risk Management Strategy page should be relaunched and should include links to Natural Resources Wales (NRW) and Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water’s relevant webpages. The new page should also include information on the responsibilities of Flood Risk Management Authorities and those of riparian land owners.
Responding to members’ questions the Chair, Task and Finish Group members and officers advised that:
· all stakeholder’s understanding of each other responsibilities and their working relationships with each other had improved during the course of the Task and Finish Group’s work.
· the recommendation to work in partnership to produce and deliver a generic information leaflet on the roles and responsibilities of flood risk authorities and householders along the Rhyl Cut and Prestatyn Gutter was due to the complexities involved with multiple ‘riparian landownership’ in a densely populated area and a wide misconception that NRW was responsible for private boundaries abutting the watercourses. Similar exercises were not deemed necessary in other areas of the county where larger landowners were familiar with their responsibilities;
· the local authority had powers conferred on it under the Land Drainage Act to intervene in certain instances. However, whilst it had the powers to intervene it was not duty bound to do so;
· riparian land owners had certain responsibilities in relation to not blocking watercourses etc. and there were recourses for action with regards to cutting off natural water supplies through common law; and
· new developments were required to be serviced by separate surface and foul water drainage systems, this was not the case for older residential developments where both surface and foul water were eventually channelled into the same sewer system;
· circulating the report to all city, town and community councils would help in communicating ... view the full minutes text for item 6