Agenda and minutes

Kent Flood Risk Management Committee - Monday, 12th November, 2018 2.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Sessions House, County Hall, Maidstone. View directions

Contact: Andrew Tait  03000 416749


No. Item



To note the appointment of Mrs L Hurst, Mr P W A Lake and Mr H Rayner to the Committee in place of Mrs C Bell and the two pre-existing vacancies.

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The Committee noted the appointment of Mrs L Hurst, Mr P W A Lake and Mr H Rayner in place of Mrs C Bell and the two pre-existing vacancies.   


Minutes of the meeting on 16 July 2018 pdf icon PDF 139 KB

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Dates of future meetings

Monday, 11 March 2019

Monday, 22 July 2019

Monday, 11 November 2019

Monday, 9 March 2020

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The Committee noted that its next meetings would be held on:-


Monday, 11 March 2019;

Monday, 22 July 2019;

Monday, 11 November 2019; and

Monday, 20 March 2020.


Meeting the Challenge of Highways Drainage - The programme of planned maintenance

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(1)       The Committee agreed that the two presentations set out at items 5 and 6 on the agenda would be considered together.  The presentation slides are contained within the electronic agenda papers on the KCC website.


(2)       Mr Michael Payne (Deputy Cabinet Member for Planning, Highways, Transport and Waste) began his presentation by setting out some of the outcomes that KCC’s programme of planned maintenance aimed to achieve.  These were: fewer flooding incidents on Kent’s highways; ensuring that the roads and footways were free from standing water; and building greater resilience against intense rainfall events. The difficulty of achieving this outcome could be gauged by noting that the rainwater goods at St Paul’s Cathedral had overtopped ten times during the year, whereas this had only happened once in the previous ten.  This, in turn, would assist in reducing disruption and increase customer satisfaction and confidence.  


(3)       Mr Payne moved on to consider KCC’s assets. The most significant of these were the 250k roadside drains.   Road Maintenance generally was undertaken to maintain road safety and to maximise the lifespan of the highway.


(4)       Mr Payne said that the Drainage Team received over 7,000 enquiries a year, primarily in respect of blocked drains which presented a general risk.   An analysis of drainage enquiries received over the previous four years (2014 – 18) showed that the peak periods had not always been during the winter months or, indeed, during the same months each year.    For example, the annual peak during the previous three had occurred in June 2016, July and August 2017 and in May 2018. 


(5)       The budget allocation for drainage maintenance was £2.5m, enabling a response to flooding that posed an immediate risk to highway safety.  Drainage hotpots were cleaned every six months and roadside drains on main roads every 12.   Other assets were targeted within 2 hours or 90 days, depending on their severity.   Other budget allocations were for ironwork repairs, pumping station servicing and repairs and drainage investigations, together with a £3.5 budget for capital work. 


(6)       Mr Payne then said that not all drains were cleaned every year, nor was it always necessary to do so.  Another 4,000 jobs were issued to the contractors in response to customer enquiries to clean gullies, jet lines, cleanse soakaways and to generally carry out investigations to reduce surface water on the network.


(7)       Mr Payne continued by setting out the significant factors that affected drainage maintenance. These included the age of infrastructure, the limited capacity of the drains to deal with flash flooding events, third party infrastructure such as ditches next to highways not being kept in good order by landowners, and reductions in street sweeping by some local authorities. 


(8)       Mr Payne aske the Committee to note that three were annual planned proactive inspections of all 5,400 miles of Kent’s highway network as well as reactive inspections in response to customer enquiries.


(9)       Mr Payne turned to the programme of capital drainage repairs and improvements. He explained that there were  ...  view the full minutes text for item 15.


National Flood Forum - Presentation by Sanjay Johal, National Flood Forum Community Flood Resilience Project Officer pdf icon PDF 1 MB

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(1)       Mr Sanjay Johal (National Flood Forum Flood Resilience Officer) gave a presentation.  The accompanying slides are contained within the electronic agenda papers on the KCC website.


(2)       Mr Johal said that the National Flood Forum (NFF) was a national charity helping to support communities at risk flooding across the country. It had 250 active Flood Action Groups made up of community representatives. It helped communities to recover when they had been flooded, and also worked to ensure that flood risk communities were at the centre of policy making and operational delivery.  This meant that there were three strands to its work.  The management worked on operational delivery and policy making whilst the Resilience Officers worked with the communities. 


(3)       Mr Johal continued by saying that the four key tenements of the NFF’s work were to facilitate, support, provide and train.  They supported the communities to recover from flooding, they provided information on flood insurance and products as well as other flooding issues that were pertinent to people within their community.  They also trained local authorities, agencies and volunteers to support people affected by floods. 


(4)       Mr Johal then set out the NFF’s objectives of working with flood risk communities in Kent.  One of the key objectives was improving understanding of local flood risk within local communities. This enabled them to support local communities to lead on and actively manage flood risk.  They helped improve communication between communities and the appropriate risk management authorities in order to ensure an effective partnership approach.   Another key objective was to improve the resilience of flood-vulnerable communities.   It was also important for the NFF to be able to identify best practice which could be followed in other areas.  This also applied to local communities who were able to discuss their experiences with others.


(5)       The risk management authorities which worked with the NFF in Kent were Kent County Council and its Highways Department, the Environment Agency, Southern Water, Local Councils, Internal Drainage Boards and the Kent Resilience Team.   The NFF worked to ensure that local communities understood each of these agencies’ roles and how they worked. 


(6)       Mr Johal explained the positive ways in which flood action groups worked.  His role was to support local communities and identify which of them would like to form a flood action group.   The benefits that the NFF saw arising from their creation were that it enabled communities to come together in partnership with those who managed flood risk.  They could also prepare to reduce the impact of flooding on their own homes and communities by ensuring that they were empowered to do so.  They also needed to understand what was outside their remit.  They could also work with other voluntary groups to instigate and support community emergency flood plans.


(7)       Mr Johal said that there were a large number of Flood Wardens in Kent, recruited and trained by the Environment Agency. Flood Wardens were a key part of their communities and proactively helped them deal with flood  ...  view the full minutes text for item 16.


Environment Agency and Met Office Alerts and Warnings and KCC flood response activity since the last meeting pdf icon PDF 87 KB

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(1)       Mr Harwood introduced the report.  He informed the Committee that since its publication there had been an additional 2 flood alerts issued by the Environment Agency (paragraph 2.4) and an additional Met Office severe weather warning for wind and rain (paragraph 2.5).


(2)       Mr Harwood said that a number of highway flooding incidents had been notified to the Duty Emergency Planning Officer on the day before the meeting (Sunday, 11 November). Kent Fire and Rescue had needed to perform a rescue of a motorist caught in floodwater under the M20 Bridge at Boarley Lane in Maidstone shortly before Junction 6.  The root cause had been the significant rainfall that had fallen in a very short period of time.  There had also been highway flooding in Sandling Lane in north Maidstone as well as in Chartway Street near The Ridge Golf Club. Flooding at the Tonbridge Road/Terrace Road junction in Maidstone had impacted preparations for the Centenary Armistice Day celebrations.  He was gathering information on all significant surface water and highway flooding events experienced across the county in order to be able to discuss possible interventions to prevent a repeat with his Highways Drainage colleagues.  


(3)       Mr Harwood then said that there had been meetings of the Severe Weather Advisory Group (SWAG) in September when high winds had been forecast.   These had initially been chaired by Kent Highways as the key risk had been trees falling onto the highway.  The winds were northerly which posed greater danger to trees than the usual south westerlies because their roots defended them better against the latter.  Later on, coastal flood risk had become the key issue as the northerly winds could force a surge down the North Sea to the pinch point at North Kent.  The Environment Agency had taken over the lead role in the SWAG at that stage.  This had taken place at the same time as the Emergency Services were dealing with the warehouse fire at Enterprise Way in Margate.  SWAG had played an important role, as its identification of wind patterns enabled an understanding of whether the greatest risk from the smoke plume was to the QEQM Hospital schools or residential communities. 


(4)       Mr Harwood then said that high peak spring tides were predicted between 23 and 26 December 2018 which could potentially pose risks to coastal areas, particularly if accompanied by strong winds. 


(5)       Mr Chittenden asked for a progress update on the work undertaken following the £4m allocation to flood defence work in Yalding.  He also asked for an update on the £189m which the Environment Agency had informed the Committee during its previous meeting had been allocated to Kent over the next five years in grants to deliver capital projects to reduce flood risk.


(6)       The Chairman said that a large proportion of the £189m would be spent in Romney Marsh, mainly on a large project for coastal flood defence at the Ranges.   He agreed that this would be one of the items that the Environment  ...  view the full minutes text for item 17.