Decision Maker: Cabinet Member for Environment
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: Yes
Is subject to call in?: Yes
As Lead Local Flood Authority (LLFA) for Kent, KCC has a duty to publish reports of investigations into flood events in Kent under Section 19 of the Flood and Water Management Act 2010. LLFAs are given freedom to determine the criteria that triggers a report of an investigation to be published. A policy for reporting on flood investigations was set out in the first Kent Local Flood Risk Management Strategy that was adopted by the County Council in 2012. The Kent Local Flood Risk Management Strategy was refreshed in 2018. The new Strategy did not include policies regarding how KCC would exercise its duties as LLFA, as it focussed on the broad strategic issues of local flood risk management. The Section 19 policy needs revising.
Previously the policy proposed that KCC published a report of an investigation of a flood event once one property was flooded internally; it is proposed that this is raised to five properties flooded internally, along with significant disruption to infrastructure and any other incidents KCC considers merit a report.
A report of an investigation under Section 19 of the Flood and Water Management Act 2010 is merely a statement of the facts of the flooding, i.e. where the flooding occurred, when it occurred, the conditions that caused the flooding, what was affected/damaged in the flood etc. An investigation does not include analysis of the event, any mitigation options or identify how flood risk might be reduced in future.
• Stay with present policy – the policy remains as it was in the Local Flood Risk Management Strategy 2012, which sets the threshold for triggering a report of an investigation at one property. Reports of flooding that involve only a few properties are not usually useful, compiling and publishing reports of flood investigations take a long time, which delays providing a comprehensive narrative of the event to the affected residents as we need to consult with partners on the report before it is published. Small floods are rarely complex and a public report is rarely in the public interest. In this scenario KCC would continue to compile these reports for these floods.
• Change threshold – the policy could be set at a higher threshold for triggering the publication of a report of a flood investigation, this would mean reports of flood investigations are focussed on flood events where there is a greater public interest in the causes of the flooding. KCC would continue to investigate floods that do not reach this threshold, but we would not be bound to publish a report, unless we considered that there was a public interest in a public report of the event. This would improve the service to residents, as small floods can be explained relatively quickly to residents and we can move on to looking at options to reduce the risk, whilst we focus report writing resources on floods which have a greater public interest.
As Cabinet Member for Environment, I agree to adopt the Section 19 Reporting Policy.
Publication date: 17/12/2019
Date of decision: 17/12/2019
Effective from: 25/12/2019