Flooding and Water Management
Types of flooding
Flooding can occur from a number of sources which include;
-Pluvial flooding – which happens when natural and man-made drainage systems have insufficient capacity to deal with surface water run off arising from heavy rainfall.
-Groundwater flooding – which occurs when heavy or prolonged rainfall makes the level of water underground rise above its natural surface
-Fluvial flooding from Ordinary Watercourses – which happens as a result of water overflowing from small streams, brooks and ditches channel
-In coastal areas such as Fylde there is the additional risk of flooding from overtopping or a breach of the sea defence at high tide and/or sea surge/storm events.
The most common source of flooding is when water levels in rivers or watercourses rise and overtop their banks ('fluvial' flooding). Another familiar source of flooding along coasts results from a combination of high tides and stormy conditions. Less well known and understood are 'pluvial' (rain-related) floods. These floods occur after short, intense downpours which cannot be quickly enough evacuated by the drainage system or infiltrated to the ground. Pluvial floods often occur with little warning in areas not prone to flooding.
The Flood and Water Management Act 2010
During 2007 flooding caused damage and devastation to large areas of the country. Following this the Government commissioned the Pitt Review which made a number or recommendations as to how we manage flooding in England.
The Flood and Water Management Act 2010 which followed designated Lead Local Flood Authorities which had the responsibility to manage flood risk in their area. Lancashire County Council and Blackpool Council are both designated as Lead Local Flood Authorities. The Act placed a range of new powers, duties and responsibilities on Lead Local Flood Authorities and makes them responsible for managing flood risk from 'local' sources. These local sources of flooding are pluvial (surface water), groundwater and ordinary water courses.
One of the new responsibilities to come out of the Act requires all Lead Local Flood Authorities to produce a local flood risk management strategy. Lancashire County Council and Blackpool Council have produced a Lancashire and Blackpool Local Flood Risk Management Strategy .
Coastal Protection Authorities such as Fylde Borough Council are responsible for managing flood risk from the sea under the Coast Protection Act 1949. A Shoreline Management Plan 2 (SMP) covering North West England and North Wales has been adopted which provides a large-scale assessment of the risks associated with erosion and flooding at the coast. It also presents policies to help manage these risks to people and to the developed, historic and natural environment in a sustainable manner. In turn a Fylde Shoreline Strategy has been produced and adopted which sets out in more detail how the coastline within Fylde Borough will be managed over the long term (100 years).
Organisations involved in the management of flood risk are known as Risk Management Authorities (RMAs), they are:
Lead Local Flood Authorities (Lancashire County Council) are responsible for the management of local flood risks, which are defined as pluvial flooding, groundwater flooding and fluvial flooding from Ordinary Watercourses
Environment Agency - manages flood risk from Main Rivers and the Sea and has strategic overview role for local sources of flooding and reservoirs Water Companies - manage flood risk from sewers and water transfer infrastructure
Highways Authorities (Lancashire County Council) - manage roads to ensure that flooding does not represent a nuisance to road users
District Councils (Fylde Borough Council) – Fylde Borough Council has the responsibility for protecting the borough from flooding and erosion from the sea as mentioned above.
The council is responsible for dealing with potential flooding of its own sites i.e. land that is owned by the council whether it is Fairhaven Lake, car parks, promenades, or allotments etc.
The council is also responsible for emergency planning and is required to plan and respond to events or situations which threatens serious damage to human welfare, the environment, or war or terrorism which threatens serious damage to security. In conjunction with Lancashire County Council and the Lancashire Local Resilience Forum Fylde Borough Council has also completed specific emergency plans to deal with the impact of flooding. This can involve providing a rest centre for people who are displaced by an emergency and have nowhere else to go. The council’s Emergency Planning Officer is available on (01253) 658658.
Responding to flooding
The Environment Agency provides comprehensive advice on how to prepare for a flood and get help during and after a flooding incident. This includes information to help identify if you are at risk of flooding and how to set up alerts for Flood Warnings Direct relating to your area.
The National Flood Forum also provides helpful advice on ‘reducing my flood risk’ and in dealing with the impacts of flooding.
Fylde Borough Council has no statutory obligation to provide sandbags for flood protection, and do not keep a store of sandbags, or indeed provide them. Householders should be advised not to rely on the council being able to respond to all needs in an emergency and to reflect upon measures that they can take themselves prior to a flooding incident.
Residents wanting sandbags can obtain them from builders’ merchants of which there are a number within the borough. Windblown sand may be taken from the footpaths along the promenade. However, sand should not be taken from the sand dunes themselves as these form part of the natural sea defences of the borough
Property Level Resilience
Government support is available to local authorities to provide grants of up to £5,000 to homeowners and businesses that have been flooded as a result of Storm Desmond and Storm Eva to help fund additional flood resilience or resistance measures for their properties.
The resilience grant presents a great opportunity for those who have been flooded to better prepare their homes for future flood events, both to prevent flood water from entering the property and to speed the recovery if it does. Further information is available.
There is a Making Space for Water Meeting in each of Lancashire’s 12 borough council areas and the two unitary authority areas. The meetings are attended by those officers from the Environment Agency, Water Companies and both Lancashire County Council and the Borough Council who have specific local knowledge about flooding incidents. The meetings are used to identify local flood hotspots and discuss potential solutions. They also enable partners to identify larger schemes which can be put forward into the bidding process for funding opportunities. The council’s Chief Engineer is Steve Ball (01253) 658493.
Fairhaven and Church Scar Coastal Defence Project
The Fylde Shoreline Strategy identifies projects to replace/improve costal defences in order to reduce erosion and flood risk to residential and commercial properties. The priority project is the replacement of defences at Fairhaven and Church Scar. This project has been the subject of a detailed project appraisal by the Environment Agency and approved for funding. Consultation has taken place to select the preferred option which is stepped concrete revetment at Fairhaven and sloping concrete revetment Church Scar.
Currently work is underway to design the new sea wall which will then be tendered. Work is expected to start on site around mid-2017. Further updates will be provided.