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Agenda item


To provide a basis for the Committee to consider the delivery of the Council’s statutory duties in respect of flood risk management.


Ms Clare Nolan-Barnes, Head of Coastal and Environmental Partnership Investments, presented the Flood Risk Management Annual Report, which highlighted the work to manage flood risk in Blackpool during 2019-2020.


The Committee was informed that the Council continued to fulfil its statutory duties but that significant challenges remained to build resilience and maintain flood defences. In order to address these challenges the Council had worked to establish Flood Forums in Anchorsholme-Norbreck and Ingthorpe-Greenlands, both areas affected by flooding. The forums would allow local people to discuss flooding issues within their communities. It was also hoped that the forums would provide a community led approach to improving flood defences, which would then be supported by the Council. The Committee also noted that the Council had received £110k of funding from United Utilities and the Environment Agency, to carry out a study, to better understand the mechanisms of flooding and to identify potential solutions to mitigate future flood events. The Committee welcomed the establishment of the new flood forums and asked that details of work undertaken by them and other projects in flood affected areas be included in the next Flood Risk Management Annual Report, scheduled for early 2021.


Members queried what dedicated resources the Council had to address flood risk. In response Ms Nolan-Barnes stated that she was the lead officer for flood risk but other officers had been identified to undertake flood risk management work as part of their roles to ensure that the Council had a flexible work force when managing flood risk.


Ms Nolan-Barnes also presented the draft Lancashire Flood Risk Strategy to the Committee. Members were informed that Blackburn with Darwen Council would also contributing and adopting the new strategy, along with Lancashire County Council and Blackpool. This had not previously been the case and represented a wider area than under the previous strategy. The Committee queried if other organisations such as United Utilities and Highways England had contributed to the development of the strategy. In response Ms Nolan-Barnes stated that United Utilities and the Environment Agency had been involved in the development of the strategy and work had been undertaken to engage other services. The Committee therefore asked that an update on the work to engage agencies, such as Highways England, be included in the 2021 Flood Risk Management Annual Report.


The Committee also queried if the Council’s planning policy could be used to help manage flood risk. It was noted that the Council had lost a number of appeals to the planning inspector, where refusals had been in part due to flood risk concerns, because United Utilities had not raised objections to them. Ms Nolan-Barnes responded that the Council worked with developers to ensure flooding concerns were taken into account. Strategic Planners and Development Control also included requirements for developers to show how flooding would be mitigated on future developments. She also added that United Utilities had agreed to take on responsibility, where it met their requirements, for the connections from new developments via their sewers adoption policy for the maintenance of sustainable drainage systems (SUDS), something they had not previously done. It was noted that this was a significant change in flood risk management.


Members also queried which agency had responsibility for watercourses in Blackpool. Ms Nolan-Barnes responded that the Environment Agency had responsibility for Bispham Dyke as it was a main river. Responsibility for other watercourses remained with either the Council or the owner of the land on which they cross.


The Committee agreed that work with agencies such as Highways England and details of the new flood forums be included in the 2021 Flood Risk Management Annual Report.

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