Relevant clauses of the Flood and Water Management Act empower the Isle of Anglesey County Council and Natural Resource Wales as ‘designating authorities’. That is, they have the permissive powers to ‘designate’ features or structures which they consider affects flood risk and it is not owned by the Lead Local Flood Authority or the Natural Resource Wales.
If an asset becomes ‘designated’ its owner cannot alter, remove or replace a designated structure or feature without the consent of the designating risk management authority. The aim of designating flood risk assets is to safeguard them against unchecked works which could increase flood risk in the area. Designation of features or structures is not something that will be done regularly but only conducted when it is deemed that there are concerns about the asset.
An asset in the context of flood risk management is an artificial or natural structure that works as a flood defence or as part of a drainage system or other feature considered likely to have a significant impact on flood risk. An example could be a trash screen, culvert, pumping station, walls or banks of a river channel.
The register will take the form of a live database, which will be constantly updated in the light of flood incidents, flood investigations and changes to infrastructure. It is proposed that new sustainable drainage assets will be recorded and asset data may also be captured through local studies, such as the Surface Water Management Plans. In the first instance the recording of assets will be prioritised by its location; future flood risk mapping and known flood risk areas taken from the Preliminary Flood Risk Assessment will be used to analyse the ‘significance’ of each flood risk asset. The vulnerability of the asset’s surroundings will also be used to determine the consequences of its failure.
The council is also required to keep an asset record for use by risk management authorities. The record will provide further information about each asset and contact details for the owner or maintainer. This database will be used to investigate cases where flood risk asset issues have been reported.
Assets require inspection and maintenance in order to prevent failure, which can otherwise be caused by deterioration or increased frequency and magnitude of flooding. There has often been much confusion over the ownership and maintenance responsibility of local flood risk assets. This is likely to be due to local drainage infrastructure commonly being hidden underground or along land boundaries, where landowners either do not realise or acknowledge that they have any responsibility.
These assets include
- coastal defences
- ordinary watercourses on land owned by Isle of Anglesey County Council
- fluvial assets on land owned by Isle of Anglesey County Council
- demountable defences
- maintenance schedules
It will take many years before the register is sufficiently comprehensive to be of real value in flood risk management. Isle of Anglesey County Council has begun to populate a register of all existing information on structures that are likely to have a significant effect on flood risk. Should you wish further information with regards to the progress and data within the register please forward your queries initially by filling in our online form and choosing Highways from the service drop-down menu.