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Flood and Water Management Act 2010

Water Resources Act 1991 (WRA)

184.Paragraphs 40 to 49 concern amendments to the WRA.

185.Paragraph 41 repeals section 106 of the WRA so that the Environment Agency no longer has to carry out its flood management functions through the Regional Flood Defence Committees. Under section 23 of this Act, those Committees will have an advisory and consenting function instead.

186.Paragraph 42 amends section 110 of the WRA to change the procedure by which fees may be determined. Instead of fees being changed by Ministerial order, they will be changed in accordance with a charging scheme that is prescribed by order.

187.Paragraph 43 amends section 118 of the WRA, which states how revenue raised by the Environment Agency can be spent, to replace the reference to “flood defence functions” with a reference to the broader concept of “flood and coastal erosion risk management functions” which this Act introduces. It also replaces references to “local flood defence district” and “flood defence district” with “flood risk management region” which are the regions created by the Environment Agency, by the exercise of its powers under section 22. It repeals section 118(6), which relates to local flood defence districts which will no longer exist. Paragraph 44 repeals section 133 of the WRA the effect of which is replaced by section 17 of the Act.

188.Paragraphs 45 and 46 amend sections 159 and 160 of the WRA, and allow the pipe laying powers in those sections to be used for flood risk management purposes.

189.Paragraph 47 adds new provisions to the beginning of section 165 of the WRA. The new provisions allow the Environment Agency to carry out flood and coastal erosion risk management works provided that: (a) the Environment Agency thinks that the work is desirable having regard to the national flood and coastal erosion risk management strategy (under sections 7 and 8 of the Act); and (b) that the purpose of the works is to manage a flood risk from the sea, or a main river (although for certain works only the first condition need be satisfied). “Main river” includes a reference to a lake, pond or other area of water which flows into a main river.

190.Flood and coastal erosion risk management works include anything done to: (a) maintain existing works, including cleansing, repairing or otherwise maintaining the efficiency of any existing watercourse or drainage work; (b) operate existing works; (c) improve existing works, including anything done to deepen, widen, straighten or otherwise improve any existing watercourse or remove or alter mill dams, weirs or other obstructions to watercourses, or to raise, widen or otherwise improve any drainage work; (d) construct or repair new works, which may include anything done to make any new watercourse or drainage work, improve a beach, dune or salt-marsh, or erect machinery; (e) maintain or restore natural processes; (f) monitor, investigate or survey a location or a natural process; (g) reduce or increase the level of water in a place; (h) alter or remove any works.

191.These new powers are subject to the same compensation, compulsory acquisition, and powers of entry provisions as apply to the existing powers in section 165. It should be noted that the new powers are also subject to existing protections provided by the planning regime. This would be the main mechanism through which third parties might appeal against new works which might impact negatively upon them.

192.The new powers are wider than the existing powers in section 165 in the same way that the powers inserted by paragraph 26 into the LDA are wider, in that they may be used to: (i) remove works; (ii) maintain, restore, and monitor natural processes; or (iii) reduce or increase the level of water in a place.

193.Sub-paragraphs (3) to (6) make consequential amendments to section 165 of the Water Resources Act.

194.Paragraphs 48 and 50 (see under Water Industry Act 1991 below) respectively amend section 204(2) of the WRA and 206(3) of the Water Industry Act 1991. These sections create a number of exceptions to the general prohibition on disclosure of information gained by companies or individuals under those Acts. These amendments to those sections add the provision of information in response to a request under section 14 to those exceptions from that prohibition.

195.Paragraph 49 amends paragraph 5(1) of Schedule 25 to the WRA to extend the powers of the Environment Agency to make byelaws. Byelaws may be made for the purposes of securing the efficient working of a drainage system and regulating the effect on the environment of a drainage system. This amendment provides in addition for byelaws to be made for the purposes of securing the effectiveness of flood risk management works, within the meaning of section 165 of the WRA, as amended by the Act and securing the effectiveness of works done under section 39 or 40 of the Act.

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