Agenda and minutes

Kent Flood Risk Management Committee - Monday, 22nd July, 2019 2.00 pm

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

Contact: Andrew Tait  03000 416749


No. Item


Minutes of the meeting on 11 March 2019 pdf icon PDF 234 KB

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RESOLVED that the Minutes of the meeting held on 11 March 2019 are correctly recorded and that they be signed by the Chairman.


Presentation by Samantha Howe (Environment Agency) on the latest coastal modelling for Kent pdf icon PDF 3 MB

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(1)       Samantha Howe (Environment Agency Coastal Risk Management) gave a presentation.  The accompanying slides are contained within the electronic papers on the KCC website.


(2)        Ms Howe began her presentation by saying that recently, 60,000 properties in Kent (residential and commercial) had been considered to be at risk of flooding from rivers and the sea.  This figure had decreased according to some studies. An updated figure would be produced once the latest modelling had taken place. 


(3)       Ms Howe then said that computer models were used to help understanding of the areas at risk. The Flood Map for Planning showed the present-day risk of flooding to land from main rivers and the sea without taking into account the presence of flood defences.   The map identified Flood Zone 3 areas where there was a 1% chance of fluvial flooding in any given year and a 0.5% chance of tidal flooding in any given year. Flood Zone 2 consisted of those areas which had a 0.1% chance of flooding in any given year.


(4)       The Environment Agency was also updating the Risk of Flooding from Rivers and the Sea map.  This data set had formerly been known as the “National Flood Risk Assessment” or NaFRA  Unlike the Flood Map for Planning, this map did take account of the presence and condition of flood defences and expressed the residual risk as “very low”, “low”, “medium” or “high risk.”


(5)       Ms Howe said that there were three flood risk models that covered the Kent coast. These were the North Kent coast from Erith to Seasalter, the East Kent coast from Seasalter to Hythe and Romney Marsh (Hythe to Fairlight in East Sussex).   The modelling method was consistent throughout these areas.


(6)       Scenario modelling had also been undertaken for both defended and undefended circumstances in the present day as well as the future, taking climate change into account and including increases in offshore wind speeds.


(7)        Ms Howe moved on to give an overview of the Kent Coastal models.   She said that the detailed model for the East Kent Coast area had been completed in 2018.   The area had not been completely covered before this date and the previous approach had been broad in scale.   The North Kent Coast model had been completed in 2013 but was now being reviewed in the light of the 2013 tidal surge which had taken place just afterwards and a new extreme sea level data set which had come about in 2015.  The Romney Marsh model was also being updated to allow breach modelling to be undertaken so that the implications of any such event could be fully understood.  This review also enabled the inclusion of Broomfield Sands defences, as well as further climate change runs.


(8)       Ms Howe then went on to use the East Kent model of 2018 as a case study. As this was such a large area, it had been split into two domains (Whitstable to Kingsdown and Kingsdown to Sandgate).  She said that  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.


Kent Environmental Strategy - Sustainable Communities: Presentation by Christine Wissink (KCC Adaptation Programme Manager)

Additional documents:


(1)       Christine Wissink (KCC Adaptation Programme Manager) gave a presentation.  The accompanying slides are contained within the electronic papers on the KCC website.


(2)       Ms Wissink began her presentation by explaining that her role involved working on climate change, including flooding. This work encompassed preparation for the future as well as the present.   The presentation would cover the work that was being undertaken in partnership with national and international organisations to make adaptations for climate change.


(3)       Ms Wissink began with the Climate Change Risk Assessment 2017 (CCRA 2017). This had arisen out of the Climate Change Act 2008 which imposed upon the Government the duty to assess climate change impacts every five years and to put forward an adaptation programme in response.  The most recent risk assessment has been produced in 2017 with the adaptation plan following in 2018.  Kent produced a “drilled down” version setting out the implications for the county.


(4)       JBA had been appointed in September 2018 to develop the Kent Climate Risk and Impact Assessment (CCRiA). They had undertaken desktop research and discussions with stakeholders (including a workshop), resulting in a draft presented to KCC in May 2019.   This very detailed and thorough document was then edited to put it into a format that was sufficiently easy for lay people to read and comprehend.


(5)       Ms Wissink then said that the CCRiA was based on the CCRA 2017.  It was divided into three parts, the first of these setting out the context, methodology and giving a summary. The second part consisted of in the third part.  Most of the material worked on had been taken from UKCP09 and UKCP18. 


(6)       Ms Wissink turned to the main findings within the CCRiA.  There were six priority risks, four of which were already happening and two which would arise in the future. An additional risk (new and emerging pests and diseases an invasive non-native species) had been identified, although its potential impacts were not yet fully understood.  Four of the priority risks were significant in terms of the work of the Kent Flood Risk Management Committee.   These were identified as :-


(a)       Flooding and coastal change risks to communities, businesses and infrastructure;

(b)       Risk of storm events/intense rainfall impacting productivity and transport infrastructure.  This was particularly significant for the Fruit industry;

(c)       Overheating, flooding, drought and coastal change risks for Kent’s natural capital; and

(d)       Soil erosion and slope destabilisation as a result of flooding and drought impacting infrastructure, the natural environment ad productivity. This was an additional risk for Kent beyond the national risks set out in CCRA 2017 and was particularly significant for the Rail industry.


(7)       Ms Wissink said that the next steps for the CCRiA would be completion of the editing and refining work by the end of July followed by stakeholder consultation in August 2019 and publication in the Autumn. Once this had been done, there would be follow-on work such as the downscaling of the UKCP18 climate projections to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.


KCC Flood Response Plan Update pdf icon PDF 204 KB

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(1)       Mr Harwood gave an introductory presentation.  The accompanying slides are contained within the electronic papers on the KCC website.


(2)       Mr Harwood said that the Flood Response Plan was a single agency document which set out KCC’s roles and responsibilities and identified where there was an interface with its partners in terms of planning and response.  It also provided geographical data and briefings on Kent’s most flood vulnerable areas.  The revisions proposed aimed to address climate change impacts and emerging better data. Resources needed to be used in the most appropriate and ergonomic way, and the document sought to identify the multi-faceted nature of flood vulnerability.


(3)       Mr Harwood underlined that KCC was not undertaking planning in a vacuum or in isolation.  Each of the County’s Boroughs and Districts produced a local multi-agency Flood Plan. These were also in the process of being updated.  The Kent Resilience Forum had established a Task and Finish Group so that all the Boroughs and Districts could work together on their Plans.  KCC and the KFRS were also involved, ensuring that their single-agency plans dovetailed with those of their other partners. 


(4)       Mr Harwood concluded his introductory presentation by saying that the document would be signed off in October.  


(5)       Mrs Mackonochie referred to the section on sewerage flood risk and asked whether the water companies had been brought into the process.  Mr Harwood replied that the Kent Resilience Forum had established a Kent Utilities Group which included the water companies. This group had been considering this particular issue.  He then gave a commitment that he would revisit this particular section of the KCC plan in order to integrate and assimilate the water utilities into it. 


(6)       Mr Harwood agreed that any comments and contributions that Members might wish to make should be emailed to him.   He added that the Plan was constantly evolving and that it was not essential to do so before 23 Serptember. 


(7)       Mr Chittenden referred to a recent burst watermain incident in Bearsted and praised South East Water’s response to it.  Problems had, however, been experienced when Southern Water had been faced with similar problems and this might have been caused by the lack of clarity over who had responsibility when surface water and sewerage events were taking place in the same location.  This had often resulted in KCC Highways completing its share of the work whilst Southern Water did not perform its tasks until a much later date. 


(8)       The Chairman noted that the document referred to District responsibilities and commented that he had been shocked by the increasing lack of specialist staff resources available to them.  He was concerned that Kent’s Districts might not have the capacity to undertake all the work that was needed. 


(9)       Mr Harwood said that the water companies were now classified as Category 2 Responders under the Civil Contingencies Act.  This gave them far greater levels of responsibility and a “duty to co-operate” which they were fulfilling in a greatly  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.


Flood Risk Management Policies pdf icon PDF 304 KB

(a)          Drainage and Planning Policy

(b)          Land Drainage Policy

(c)          Flood and Water Management Act 2010: Section 19 Investigation Policy

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(1)       Mr Tant introduced the report by saying that KCC had been appointed Lead Local Flood Authority under the Flood and Water Management Act 2010, which gave KCC the strategic overview of local flooding caused by surface water, groundwater and ordinary watercourses.  This was accompanied by a number of duties, one of which was to publish a Flood Risk Management Strategy.  The revised Strategy had been published in 2017.


(2)       KCC had a number of powers and duties for the management of local flood risk.  These included the duty to act as a statutory consultee for surface water in planning, the power to regulate works in ordinary watercourses, and the duty to undertake investigations into flooding.  KCC was now bringing forward new policies which set out how these powers and duties were to be undertaken.


(3)       Mr Tant then discussed the proposed revisions to the Drainage and Planning Policy.  He said that it had first been adopted in 2015. Since then it had become clear that there were issues that needed to be dealt with.  The Policy Statement had therefore been refined and clarified in order to bolster the work that KCC carried out in partnership with developers and other local authorities.  The revisions also ensured consistency with changes to the NPPF and DEFRA’s 25-year Environment Plan.


(4)       Mr Tant then turned to the Land Drainage Policy.  He said that KCC’s powers were set out in the Land Drainage Act 1991.  One of these was the power to provide consent for any works within an ordinary watercourse outside IDB jurisdiction.   In particular, this policy set out KCC’s position regarding culverts. Generally speaking, KCC was opposed to culvertsdue to the increase in flood risk and damage to wildlife habitats.  KCC accepted culverts where they were used to unlock land for development. One of Kent’s greatest flood problems was flooding that arose due to the culverting of ordinary watercourses.  The draft Policy set out KCC’s approach to exercising these powers and gave applicants guidance who sought land drainage consent. 


(5)       Mr Tant continued by saying that the third Policy was the Section 19 Investigation Policy.  The duty to investigate flood events in the County was conferred on KCC under section 19 of the Flood and Water Management Act 2010, which left it up to each Lead Local Flood Authority to decide how it would undertake this duty.


(6)       Mr Tant said that up to this point, the investigation policy had been contained within the Flood Risk Management Strategy and had specified that an investigation would be carried out whenever flooding had caused damage to property. This approach was being revised because a formal investigation required the Lead Flood Authority to issue a report about the flood, which was a time-consuming process that slowed down the dissemination of information unnecessarily in small events.  The draft Policy therefore proposed to increase the threshold for a published report so that 5 properties in a local geographical area would need to be flooded internally before a  ...  view the full minutes text for item 10.


Environment Agency and Met Office Alerts and Warnings and KCC severe weather response activity since the last meeting pdf icon PDF 207 KB

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(1)          Mr Harwood said that the month of June 2019 had seen dramatic rainfall leading to surface and groundwater flooding in parts of North West Kent.  Eynsford had received 112.3 mm of rain and Ham Hill 111.5 mm within a single 24-hour period.   This contrasted with the long-term average rainfall during June of 53 mm for the entire month.  Some 170 residential and commercial premises had been affected.  The water had flowed through and damaged these properties so quickly that it had often disappeared by the time emergency responders had arrived. 


(2)          Mr Harwood then said that sudden, high intensity events such as these were exactly what experts on climate change impacts had been predicting, with a warmer atmosphere leading to more water vapour in the air and an increasing likelihood of storms.  This meant that every part of the county was potentially at risk because, no matter where the rain fell, there would always be  built and topographical features which exacerbated flood risk to associated vulnerable properties. 


(3)       Mr Harwood said that the Severe Weather Advisory Group teleconference that had taken place in response to the June surface water flooding event had initially been chaired by the Environment Agency because the response was to surface and groundwater flooding.  KCC had taken the chair for the subsequent recovery phase. 


(4)       The worst affected premises had been St Katherine’s School and Nursery in Snodland, where the damage had been so significant that the children had needed to be educated at the local secondary school. It was hoped that they would be able to return to their own school when the new term began in September. 


(5)       Mr Harwood concluded his introduction by saying that elevated tides with high risk of coastal flooding had been forecast between 28 September and 3 October and between 26 and 31 October, the key risks would arise if storms or high winds accompanied these elevated high tides.  


(6)       Mr Chittenden noted that groundwater levels and reservoirs were, for the most part within normal ranges even though many new houses were being built in Kent.  He asked whether there were any projections for water capacity during the next 5 to 10 years.  


(7)       Mr Tant replied to Mr Chittenden by saying that he was not aware of any significant constraint within this time period. Water companies had a duty to provide water and had to produce a new 25 year plan every 5 years.  The latest version had been submitted earlier in the year and was due to commence in April 2020. This was under review by Ofwat, whose work included assessment for extreme scenarios, including those potentially caused by climate change. 


(8)       Mr Tant added that KCC promoted water-efficient development.  An example of this was the promotion of “grey water” rather than drinking quality water for appropriate functions such as gardening and toilet flushing.       


(9)       Mr Harwood said that since the repeal of the Code for Sustainable Homes in 2010, local water conservation policies needed  ...  view the full minutes text for item 11.