somerset flooding summit the role of riparian owners graham clark cla sw
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Somerset Flooding Summit The Role of Riparian Owners Graham Clark CLA SW. CLA & its involvement in flooding & water management Riparian landowners responsibilities & where they fit in water management Riparian landowners perspective on flood risk management & maintenance of watercourses

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Presentation Transcript
slide2
CLA & its involvement in flooding & water management

Riparian landowners responsibilities & where they fit in water management

Riparian landowners perspective on flood risk management & maintenance of watercourses

Recommendations looking forward

Scope of talk

slide3
National association for owners of rural land & businesses

34,000 members, responsible for half the rural land in England

c.1,000 Somerset members, many riparian owners, many affected by 2012 floods

Lobby government for better policies for a living & working countryside

Represent members views locally & nationally with EA, Defra Ministers etc

CLA & its role in flooding

slide4
Those owning land beside ditch, stream, river

Rights

To receive water in natural quantity & quality

To protect property from flooding & erosion – subject to consents regime

Responsibilities

Let water flow through land without obstruction, pollution, diversion

Keep banks, bed & structures clear of obstruction

Notify EA/Local authority if building or altering structure which obstructs a watercourse

Protect water quality, wildlife & habitat

Role of Riparian Landowners

slide5
Most watercourses managed by landowner (subject to consents regime & powers of public authorities below:)

EA has powers to work on Main Rivers to manage flood risk – construct/maintain banks, dredging etc

C.Council/Drainage Board has powers to work on Ordinary Watercourses to manage flood risk

EA/CC/IDB can serve notice where landowner not maintained watercourse & flow is impeded or increasing flood risk

Riparian owners pay annual levy to the IDB to help with management of watercourses & many sit on Drainage Boards

Role of Riparian Landowners

slide6
Most accept responsibilities & keep ditches & watercourses clear

They have a vested interest in doing so – agriculture relies on it

Biggest frustration – rhynes cleared out but water still does not flow due to inadequate channel clearance in the main rivers downstream

EA’s national budget for maintenance severely cut meaning less work can be done

2010/11 c.£100m

2013/14 c.£70m

2014/15 c.£60m

Riparian Landowner’s perspective

slide7
A decreasing amount of work is being conducted on medium to low priority parts of the network and …… if they are never maintained these parts of the system may no longer function as intended.

De-silting on rivers in the Somerset Levels having all but ceased, the Rivers Tone & Parrett are considered to be between a third and two thirds of their capacity, exacerbating the extent and duration of the current flooding.

(Association of Drainage Authorities,

EFRA Committee Evidence, Jan 2013)

Riparian Landowner’s perspective

slide8
Agriculture on low lying areas like the Somerset Levels depends on effective management of water levels

Most of the area’s environmental interest – SSSI’s, SAC, ESA/HLS agreements – depends on farming

But farming may soon become unviable in parts of the Levels if steps not taken to more effectively manage water levels – dredging in main rivers has to be part of this

Its not about ‘canalising’ all rivers – a balance needs to be struck between flood risk, environment & agriculture

Looking forward

slide9
Agriculture underpins much of public benefit on the Levels – Treasury rules should recognise full value of farmland to society in EA cost/benefit calculations

Need to streamline EA consenting regime to enable those riparian owners who are able, to effectively maintain watercourses

Perhaps time to consider IDBs taking on maintenance of some stretches of main river

IDBs could do work quicker & more cost effectively than EA & can ensure a consistent standard along a main river

Perhaps IDBs should raise additional levies through District Councils to pay for work – householders benefit from reduced flood risk

Looking forward

slide10

Graham Clark

SW Regional Surveyor

CLA

Hartham Park

Corsham

Wiltshire

SN13 0RP

[email protected]

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