England & Wales Press Releases

Managing Floods

Andy Johnston, Chief Operating Officer at the LGiU, said:

“The governance of flooding in England and Wales, is a mess. Different bodies are responsible depending on whether the flooding is from a large river, a small river, a ditch, groundwater or heavy rain. To add to the complexity water doesn’t stand still and can flow into several different jurisdictions in one afternoon.

The households and communities looking for support do not care what type of flooding is affecting their homes and businesses, they just need help. During a flood, attention is focused on the emergency services and the Environment Agency but before, during and particularly after a flood it is the local authority that is the front line service. Therefore, it is surprising to many that they only control 8% of the total amount spent on flooding and a jumble of other local and national organisations control the rest.

The Local Government Information Unit (LGiU) runs the Local Government Flood Forum and its members have been calling for greater devolution of responsibility and resources for flooding to local authorities. Only at the local level can there be a meaningful joining up of the different services that contribute to successful flood management. While there has been much fanfare around recent government plans for devolution. The LGiU is aware that several local authorities have asked for flood management budgets to be devolved from the Environment Agency to them but so far no ‘deal’ has included this element.

The Government is right to state that they apply a funding formula for flooding that does not distinguish between the North and the South. However, the core pot of flood infrastructure funding is only a small part of the cost of a flood defence.

Rather than rely upon geographical luck to ensure funds are spent properly, the LGiU advocates that all large local authorities be given responsibility for the flood budget in their area and cooperate with other local authorities to ensure that floods are prevented, people are helped during floods and that recovery from flooding is as swift and as painless as possible.”


Notes to editors

The Local Government Information Unit (LGiU) is a think tank and membership body with over 200 councils and other organisations subscribing to our networks. We work to strengthen local democracy and put citizens in control of their own lives, communities and local services. For more information, visit lgiu.org.


Further commentary from in the Daily Telegraph Comment here and on BBC News.


Other relevant briefings and reports include: