BIBA response to Draft Flood and Water Management Bill

27th July 2009

 


The British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA) is the UK’s leading general insurance intermediary organisation. We represent the interests of insurance brokers, intermediaries and their customers.


BIBA represents 2,300 insurance intermediaries including 98 of the UK’s top 100 insurance intermediaries. Our members handle about half the value of all UK home, contents, motor, travel, commercial and industrial insurance policies. Independent insurance intermediaries distribute nearly two-thirds of all UK non-marine general insurance, of which BIBA members account for more than 80%. They also introduce an estimated £20 billion of premium income into London’s insurance market each year.


BIBA is pleased to have the opportunity to respond to the draft Flood and Water Management Bill consultation.


In our view, this goes a long way to implement the recommendations from the Pitt report. However there are several areas which we feel have not been sufficiently considered in this consultation and on which we have a number of comments


1. Social Housing:
BIBA believe there needs to be a review of insurance for social housing and low income households. Brokers will do everything they can to make insurance cover as fairly priced and easily available as possible. BIBA urges the Government to include in the Bill a requirement that local authorities provide low cost insurance solutions for local authority households. Specifically, the Bill should consider imposing a requirement on local authorities to set up a tenants’ contents insurance with rent scheme.  This should include a good practice guide for providers of social housing that should be widely circulated.


2. Awareness Campaign and Signposting:
Many people search for their insurance on the internet but are rejected if their postcode is deemed to be beyond the risk acceptance criteria of the insurer. This can lead many in this category to believe that their homes are uninsurable.  They may not be aware that specialist insurance brokers can cover the majority of properties prone to flood. In fact, BIBA members can insure nine out of ten homes that are rejected by insurance companies.
To help those in higher risk areas, we suggest that the Bill should require the Government to provide signposting from the Environment Agency website and other appropriate sites to sources of insurance for flood prone properties. This will help homeowners and businesses seek appropriate insurance protection. www.biba.org.uk


3. Guidance:
The problems of flooding are often exacerbated by miscommunication and misunderstanding. There should therefore be a requirement in the Bill that Government should maintain, review and update the guidance on flood for all, including advice on an emergency flood kit and what to do before, during and after a flood.


4. Resilient Repair:
Insurers repair damaged properties in accordance with the building regulations, putting them back to the condition prior to flooding. There is no opportunity to improve the property to help prevent damage from future flooding.   If the building regulations were to include a requirement for resilient repair, this would mean that Insurers would  repair the property in such a way that future floods would cause less damage, be quicker and less costly to repair. One obvious example would be to refit electrical fittings higher up the wall. BIBA strongly urges this matter to be included within the Bill.


BIBA members have front-line experience of dealing with floods and by way of this letter we formally request a meeting with the Flood Minister to talk through some of these  issues in more detail.


Our responses to the 188 questions you pose are below.  In general, we have restricted our comments to those questions where we have a particular insight or informed view:


1. How far, in general, would you say that the draft legislation is written in a reasonably clear style that is likely to be understood by readers?
It is reasonably clear.


2. In general, do you think the individual clauses are too long, too short or about the right length? How far is their overall order in the draft legislation reasonably logical and easy to follow?
It is the right length and easy to follow.


3. In general, do you think the individual sentences in the draft are too long, too short or about the right length and is their structure too complex, too simple or about right?
It was just right.


4. Please give examples of anything in the style of the draft legislation that you particularly liked or disliked. Please also give your reasons.
No Comment

5. Please give examples of provisions that you thought helpfully simple or well expressed or ones that could be made simpler or otherwise improved. Please also give your reasons.

No comment.


6. Are there any drafting techniques (such as cross-references to other provisions of the draft legislation) that you would like to see used more or less?
No comment.


7. Please suggest any improvements to the way in which legislation is drafted that you think would make it easier to understand and apply.
Please see our opening comments to this response.


2.1 New approaches to Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management


8. Are you content with the definitions of “risk” and “risk management” in the draft Bill?
The following could also be included in the definition of risk management; these terms could include, but are not limited to:


1. Risk Assessment/Analysis (Identification, Description, Estimation)
2. Risk Evaluation
3. Risk Treatment (Avoidance, Control, Transfer, Financing)  


9. Are you content that the draft Bill should enable a wider range of approaches to managing flood and coastal erosion risk than is currently allowed under existing legislation, such as resilience, and that it should be sufficiently flexible to accommodate new approaches which may be developed in future?
Yes, the bill has to have longevity and be flexible. Changes in the Market and climate changes will need to be considered in the future. 


10. Does the approach in the draft Bill to flood and coastal erosion risk management adequately cover adaptation?
Yes


11. Does the proposed approach to flood and erosion risk management:


• facilitate and encourage authorities to make effective links between land management and flooding and erosion?
As long as the bill gives sufficient empowerment.


• enable and encourage authorities to play an appropriate role in the delivery of wider multiple objective projects through the use of their flood and erosion management functions, including projects that are specifically required to achieve environmental, cultural and social outcomes?
As long as the bill gives sufficient empowerment.


12. Are there any approaches to flood and coastal erosion risk management that should be adopted but which the draft Bill would not allow?
Properties that are left exposed to flood risk will at some point become uninsurable. Lack of defence work and maintenance could make properties uninsurable.


13. Should all operating authorities be required to contribute to sustainable development objectives when carrying out flood and coastal erosion risk management?
No comment, it needs to be joined up appropriately.  

Annex B – List of consultation questions


2.2 Future roles and responsibilities


14. Are the component parts of the EA strategic overview clear and correct and do they achieve the objectives?
Yes.


15. If not, what further changes should be made?
No comment.


16. Do you have any comments on the proposal that the EA issues a National Strategy for FCERM with which all operating authorities will be required to act consistently when delivering their FCERM functions?
A National Strategy is essential.


17. Do you have any comments on the proposal that other bodies would have to have regard to the EA’s National Strategy and guidance? Do you consider that any other bodies should be added to the list in clause 23? In particular, how should the sewerage industry be brought into the new framework?
No Comment.


18. Do you think that the EA should be required to consult as part of preparing or publishing its strategy?
Yes, the consultation may bring benefits.


19. Should the EA have a regulatory role in relation to coastal erosion risk management, in particular for consenting and enforcement as set out in paragraphs 103-105? What alternative arrangements might be preferable?
No comment.


20. Should the Secretary of State have the power to direct the EA to undertake local flood risk management work in default of local authorities, and recover reasonable costs
Yes


21. Should the EA be able to undertake coastal erosion risk management works concurrently with local authorities where appropriate to support the delivery of the strategic overview role?
Yes but only with the approval of the marine management body.

22. The EA is drawing up a coastal map showing which operating authority will exercise FCERM powers on each length of coast. Should the EA maintain this and should the procedure for amending the map be the same as for main river maps, or should it be a non-statutory process?

Yes, BIBA are in favour of EA maintaing and amending of the maps.


2.3 Main River Mapping

23. Do you have any comments on the proposed changes to main river maps as set out above?

No.


2.5 Local Flood Risk Management

24. The Government’s response to Sir Michael Pitt’s Review accepted that county and unitary local authorities should have the ‘local leadership’ role described above. Does the draft Bill implement this effectively and support the development of effective local flood management partnerships?

Yes.


25. Do you have any comments on the proposal that the county and unitary local authorities will develop a strategy for local flood risk management and that district local authorities and IDBs would be required to act in a manner which is consistent with that strategy in delivering their FCERM functions?
No comment. 


26. Do you have any comments on the proposal that other bodies would have to have regard to the local flood risk management strategy and guidance? Do you consider that any other bodies should be added to the list?
No other bodies should be added to the list.


27. Do you think that the county and unitary local authorities should be required to consult the public as part of preparing or publishing their strategy?
Yes, the public need to be consulted before implementation.


28. Further to its duty to investigate flooding incidents, should the county or unitary local authority have powers to carry out works of an emergency nature? If so, what powers would be needed?
We agree that local authorities should have powers to carry out work of an emergency nature but we cannot comment on the specific powers.  


29. Do you think that the EA and county and unitary local authorities should be able to gather information from private landowners and individuals about flood drainage assets related to their respective responsibilities? What if any sanction is needed to ensure information is provided?
EA and Unitary local authorities should be allowed to request information but there should not be a sanction system


30. Should county and unitary local authorities be legally required to produce annual reports on the way that they are managing local flood risk? Should this requirement be annual?
Yes.


31. Should the EA provide support and advice to the local overview and scrutiny functions as part of the exercise of its strategic overview role?
Yes.


32. Should the list of bodies required to cooperate with overview and scrutiny committees be extended to encompass all relevant authorities and as a result pick up IDBs and water companies?
Yes.

33. Should Regional Flood and Coastal Committees (or another body) be involved in peer reviewing any annual reports produced by local authorities?

Yes.


34. Should district local authorities and IDBs continue to manage flood risk from ordinary watercourses, taking account of Local and National Strategies?
Yes.


35. Should county and unitary local authorities have powers, concurrent with district local authorities and IDBs, to manage flood risk from ordinary watercourses in their areas? Or should they remain able to act only in default?
No comment.


36. Should any sea flooding works that a local authority wants to undertake require them consent of the EA?
Yes, except in emergencies as the local authorities need to respond quickly without any delay waiting for an EA response, there should be flexibility. 


37. Should all relevant organisations have the power to undertake any flood and coastal erosion risk management at the request of another body?
No, there should be co-ordination from a central source – the EA.


38. Should the functions of consenting, and the production and coordination of the strategy (for both EA and county and unitary local authorities) remain as ones which cannot be carried out by another authority?
No comment.


39. Are these assumptions reasonable? Is further evidence available to improve the analysis? Are the measures detailed proportionate with the scale of benefits assumed?
No comment.


2.5 Duty to cooperate and share information
40. As agreed in the Government response to Sir Michael Pitt’s Review, there will be a duty on relevant organisations to cooperate and share information. Do you think the list of relevant authorities to whom this applies is comprehensive?
Yes, relevant organisations should share information. Flood Maps should be made freely available to the Insurance industry.


41. Should the EA and county and unitary local authorities be able to specify the format and standards for information to be shared between organisations?
Yes.


2.6 Sustainable Drainage Systems

42. Do you agree that national design, construction and performance standards for sustainable drainage of new developments and re-developments should be developed and approved by the Secretary of State and Welsh Ministers?

Yes.

43. Are there particular issues which must be addressed in the standards to make them effective, that have not been mentioned?

No comment.


44. Are there examples where this form of approval, for the surface water drainage system associated with a new development, is not appropriate?
We feel this is appropriate.


45. Does the process for adoption and connection described here provide a clear and workable approach for developers, local authorities and water and sewerage companies? Do you have any suggestions which would make the process simpler, speedier or lower cost?
No comment.


46. Are there examples where a communal SUDS should not be adopted by the SAB?
No comment.


47. Do you agree with how the envisaged arrangements for replacing the automatic right to connect will work?
Yes we agree but cost must be kept to a reasonable level.


48. Can the use of National Standards as a material consideration for the purposes of s115(4) of the Water Industry Act 1991 provide sufficient legal certainty to prevent inappropriate agreements to drain highways to sewer?
No comment.


49. What is the appropriate balance to enable good SUDS designs that work with the lie of the land, can discharge to watercourse, and can be accessed for maintenance and inspection, whilst protecting the rights of landowners?
No comment.


50. How wide should the SABs’ ability to delegate be?
No comment.


51. Are additional enforcement powers needed – in particular, should the SAB have an independent power to enforce the approved SUDS? How would this work?
No comment.


52. Views are welcomed on how best to ensure the maintenance of private SUDS, and ensure that they are not redeveloped.
Specific local advice is required for sustainable development system: no further comment, local advise specific for SUDS presence.  


53. Is there any legal impediment to prevent a SAB from adopting an existing SUDS?
No comment.


54. Do you agree that performance management of SUDS maintenance should be included within the local government performance framework, as part of their climate change adaptation function?
Yes.


2.7 Regional Flood Defence Committees

55. Do you agree that Regional Flood Defence Committees should be renamed as Regional Flood and Coastal Committees?

No. In our view the role of these committees is to ensure flood “defence” and so  believe that the current name is the most appropriate and should be retained.  


56. Should RFCC status be predominantly advisory rather than executive?
They should have an executive role but the EA should co-ordinate and have power of Veto.


57. Should the focus and roles of RFCCs be as described in above? If not, do you have any other proposals?
No comment.


58. Do you agree that the membership of RFCCs should be appointed as outlined above in future? If not, do you have any other proposals?
No comment.


59. Should RFCCs’ levy-consenting powers be extended to coastal erosion issues?
No, we have reservations about this. Failure would have a consequence on insurance.


60. Are there any other issues that you wish to raise in regard to RFCCs?
Make Sure issues of defence are included.


2.8 EU Floods Directive

61. Should flooding from sewerage systems caused solely by system failure be excluded from transposition of the Floods Directive? If not, how might such flooding be integrated?

Escape of sewage on to a property leads to an insurance claim so we are concerned.. Flooding from sewerage system failure is relevant and therefore should be included.


62. Should the EA and county and unitary local authorities assume responsibility for implementing the Floods Directive, with the EA focusing on national mapping and planning and local authorities having specific responsibilities in relation to local flood risk? If not, what other arrangements would you suggest?
Yes but local authorities should have an EA overview.


63. Should county and unitary local authorities be responsible for delivering PFRAs for local flood risk as described above? If not, who should be responsible?
Yes.


64. Is this framework a suitable approach for determining ‘significant risk’ or are there alternative approaches to consider?
No comment


65. Should county and unitary local authorities be responsible for determining significant local flood risk (ordinary watercourses, surface water and groundwater)? If not, who should be responsible?
Yes.


66. Should the proposed selection of ‘significant risk’ areas by local authorities be moderated along the lines of the arrangements set out above?
No comment


67. Do you agree with the proposed mapping arrangements set out above? If not, what alternative arrangements do you suggest?
Yes.


68. Should the EA and local authorities have the discretion to determine whether or not to produce flood maps, as described above? If not, what other arrangement should apply?
We believe that flood maps are essential and that they should be comprehensive. Flooding in one area can impact on another. Mapping practices should be reviewed periodically.


69. Should the arrangements for FRMPs be as set out above? If not, what alternative arrangements do you suggest?
We recommend including mapping for sewage flooding.


70. Do you agree with the co-ordination arrangements set out above? If not, what alternative arrangements do you suggest?
Yes, agree.


71. Should the first cycle PFRA be brought forward one year, as proposed above, to enable mapping to take up to two years in common with the rest of the mapping and planning cycle?
This should be done ASAP.


72. Do you agree with the other proposals set out above for reporting and review? If not, what alternative arrangements do you suggest?
No comment


2.9 Water Framework Directive

73. Do you agree that the duty to act in accordance with WFD requirements should apply equally to all FCERM authorities?

Yes.


74. Do you think this approach provides a satisfactory mechanism for ensuring that the relevant bodies deliver the requirements of the WFD?
Yes.


2.10 Third Party Assets

75. Should we introduce a system of third party asset identification and designation, as set out above?

No, we have reservations about this. In our view it requires more thought. We have concerns about the unintended consequence for the Insurance Industry that we would like to discuss with you further.


76. Is there a case for greater powers on third party assets than we have suggested? See answer to question 75.


77. Are there assets that are not ‘structures or natural/man-made features’ that should also be designated? See answer to question75.


78. Should there be a duty on those responsible for third party assets in England and Wales to maintain them in a good condition?
No comment


2.11 Consenting and enforcement

79. Should regulation of the ordinary watercourse network (where there are no IDBs) transfer to county and unitary authorities? Or should this role in future sit with the district and unitary authorities?

No comment.


80. Should it be possible to make consents subject to reasonable conditions?
Yes.


2.12 Reservoir safety

81. Views are sought on whether the minimum volume figure should be 5,000 or 10,000 cubic metres, or another figure.

No comment.


82. Views are also sought as to whether criteria for inclusion and/or exemption can be based on other objective criteria such as embankment height, elevation, type of construction etc.
No comment.


83. Do you have a view on what information should be requested at the point of registration to enable an effective risk based approach thereafter? How can we design this and the collection process to minimise the burdens imposed by registration?
No comment.


84. Do you agree the proposed classification is appropriate and that the EA should have responsibility for classifying all reservoirs under the new regime?
No comment.


85. Do you believe there might be a role for insurance in improving reservoir safety and, if so, how might this work?
Insurers are satisfied as long as the reservoirs are monitored and controlled.


86. Do you have a view on whether and how the Government could most fairly keep to a minimum the financial burdens placed on the owners of those reservoirs which are being brought within the regulatory regime for the first time?
No comment.


87. Again, we welcome views on how to ensure charges within a scheme can be made proportionate.
No comment.


88. No decision has yet been made about making use of the existing power to give Directions contained in the Reservoirs Act 1975 (as amended by the Water Act 2003). Views are invited on whether to proceed ahead of enactment of the proposals in the draft Bill. Points to bear in mind are:


• The existing power to give a Direction would apply only to LRRs; and the costs of offsite planning would not be borne by the undertaker.


• The power to give a Direction under the new Bill proposals could apply to all high risk reservoirs above the minimum volume criterion; and could provide for the reservoir manager to meet the costs of off-site planning should a specific emergency response plan be needed. Views are sought on whether the Bill should provide for this.
No comment.


3.1 Possible reforms to the role and governance of Internal Drainage Boards

89. Do you consider that there is a direct conflict or inconsistency between the IDBs’ supervisory role and the local leadership role of the county and unitary local authorities?

No comment, on the proviso that the EA has the overall co-ordination.


90. If the IDBs’ supervisory role was repealed, what would IDBs no longer be able to do that they currently can?
No comment.


91. Should regulation of the entire ordinary watercourse network (including within IDB watercourses) transfer to county and unitary authorities in order to provide a consistent approach?
No comment.


92. Do you think that IDBs should have specific powers to share services and
form/participate in consortia?
No comment.


93. Do you think that IDBs should have specific powers to form/participate in limited companies/limited liability partnerships for the purposes of sharing services?
No comment.


94. What negative impacts might there be from providing IDBs with these specific powers?
No comment.


95. Do you agree the proposals outlined are the best way to simplify these procedures? If not, what alternative approaches should be considered?
No comment.


96. Do you agree that the title of IDBs should change in the future to reflect the wider approaches that IDBs will undertake now and in the future?
No comment.


97. Do you agree that ‘Local Flood Risk Management Board’ is an appropriate new title, or is there a better alternative?
No comment.


98. Do you agree that the principles of the Medway Letter should be relaxed allowing IDBs to expand their boundaries beyond their traditional areas?
No comment.


99. Do you agree that there should be a specific requirement for IDBs to produce an impact assessment demonstrating the cost benefit implications of a boundary expansion?
This would seem sensible.


100. Do you agree that the future supervision of IDBs would fit better with county and unitary local authorities rather than the EA in the future?
No comment.


101. Do you think that county and unitary local authorities should take over the lead on amalgamation (etc.) schemes from EA in the future under this supervisory role?
EA must still retain the overall responsibility.


102. Do you agree that lifting the bare majority limit on local authority membership of IDBs will allow for fairer representation on boards in the future?
No comment.


103. Are there other models of membership that you think would be more appropriate?
No comment.


104. Do you agree that the Secretary of State should have powers to determine the size, shape and structure of IDBs in the future?
Yes, after consultation.


105. What consultation would need to occur before individual changes in size, shape and structure of IDBs were to take place? What sort of powers would be most appropriate?
No comment.


106. Views are sought on whether the assumptions are reasonable. Can further evidence be made available to improve the analysis? Are the measures proportionate with the scale of benefits assumed?
No comment.


3.2 Current funding structure


108. Do you agree that there is a case to retain powers for the EA to levy (a) general drainage charges, and for IDBs to retain similar powers to levy (b) agricultural drainage rates in England and Wales?
No comment.


109. Do you agree that EA’s current powers to levy special drainage charges should be repealed?
No comment.


110. Do you agree that only county and unitary local authorities should be funded for local flood risk management to allow them to prioritise funding based on where benefits would be greatest?
We do not agree.  In our view, the arrangements should be flexible to allow EA to prioritise to be involved as well.
111. Do you think that replacing the IDB special levy in England and Wales with agency or contractual arrangements between IDBs and the relevant local authorities would improve the delivery and prioritisation of local flood risk management?
No comment.


112. Are there other arrangements that would remove or reduce the problems associated with the special levy in England and Wales, including those referred to above?
No comment.


113. Is there a case to end both IDB highland water charges and EA’s precept on IDBs in England and Wales?
No comment.


114. If the Medway letter were retained, would there still be a case to end the payments?
No comment.


115. What additional steps or measures could be taken to make sure developers in England and Wales contribute towards the pressures new developments place on future local and central government budgets?
No comment.


3.3 Reducing property owners’ and occupiers’ impact upon local flood risk
116. How can people be made aware of their riparian responsibilities when they first buy properties that include riparian land?
– The Environment Agency website could include the appropriate details
– Home information packs (HIPS) could require this information


117. What else could be done to improve existing riparian owners’ awareness and understanding of their responsibilities?
– The Environment Agency website could include the appropriate details
– Home information packs (HIPS) could require this information


118. What examples are there of strategies that have succeeded in increasing the engagement of riparian owners and improving their contribution to maintenance?
Risk management for property owners and business resilience are key areas where an insurance broker can advise property owners of risk management and how to reduce or transfer the risks.


119. How could the powers provided to drainage bodies by section 25 of the Land Drainage Act 1991 be improved?
No comment.


120. Do you agree with the suggestion that ENI be offered to applicants and respondents in all ALT land drainage cases?
No comment.


121. Do you agree with the introduction of a fee for all applications to the Agricultural Land Tribunal that concern land drainage? This would not affect hearings for agricultural tenancies.
No comment.


122. If an application fee were introduced, at what level should it be set?
No comment.


123. Do you agree that a fee should be charged for an ALT hearing on drainage? Should that fee be paid by the losing party or should this be decided by the ALT?
No comment.


124. If a hearing fee were introduced, at what level should it be set?
No comment.


125. What cases are you aware of where people might have made use of the ALT had its remit extended beyond ditches and included all ordinary watercourses?
No comment.


126. Do you think that it would be a good idea to extend the remit of the ALT to include all ordinary watercourses? Do you think that it should also be extended to cover the main river network?
No comment.


127. In what other ways, if any, could the regulations and processes of the ALT be improved as regards cases involving drainage issues?
No comment.


128. Do you think the ALT should be renamed? If so, what name do you suggest?
No comment.


129. Do you believe that failure to maintain the flow of water through watercourses should be described in law as a statutory nuisance?
No, we strongly disagree with this proposal. It would be going too far and could have major unintended consequences on the Insurance Industry leading to more claims and therefore higher premiums and fewer people being able to afford insurance.


130. If a statutory nuisance were created concerning “obstructed watercourses”, should it be administered by the ALT, by district and unitary local authorities or by some other body/bodies?
A statutory nuisance should NOT be created.


131. Do you agree that a new statutory nuisance should be created to tackle the risk of runoff flooding?
No, this is a knee jerk reaction. Instead it would be better to review and tighten planning regulations.
132. If a statutory nuisance were created for run-off risk, which public bodies should be responsible for its administration and enforcement – the ALT, unitary and district local authorities, or unitary and county local authorities?
No comment.


133. What is the range of costs involved in conducting expert investigations into potential surface run-off statutory nuisance?
No comment.


134. What sized reductions in damages can be expected when run-off risks are eliminated?
No comment.


135. Should the owners of properties that cause a surface run-off statutory nuisance have to pay the entire cost of eliminating the nuisance? What would happen if the owner was unable to afford the work? How else could the works be paid for?
Insurers will not pay for the abatement of the nuisance, so the costs would fall on the owner.


For private individuals, if they are in breach of planning permission and that breach has caused the damage, then the individual should be served with a court order to enforce the remedy.  In practice, this is unlikely to be expensive e.g. digging up the driveway in the example given.  However, we would suggest that there must be Planning Permission breach to enforce the order.  If necessary, planning rules could be tightened as regards work on the outside of private properties that could create a water run off nuisance.


As for businesses/undertakings – again the owner should be pursued as far as possible.  Also, planning permission rules may need to be tightened where flood risks to others are increased.


If the person responsible for correcting the cause of the damage refuses to carry it out, perhaps the enforcing agency should have similar powers to the Environment Agency when dealing with Environmental Damage pollution. The enforcing agency should carry out the remedy and recover their costs from the guilty party through the courts.


136. Should local authorities be encouraged to make more use of their Article 4 powers to reduce the growth in surface run-off risk?
Yes


137. Please tell us of any recent occasions you are aware of in which run-off from farmland caused substantial disruption or damage to neighbouring property.
No comment


138. Do you agree that local authorities should, in areas of high risk of run-off flooding, be given powers to impose restrictions on management practices and oblige landowners to make improvements to drainage in particular portions of land implicated in run-off flooding?
In areas of high risk run off, there may be a case for this.  However, it would be important to define “high risk”.


139. If you do agree with the above proposition, what land management practices should be included in the national list of possible restrictions?
No comment.


140. What would be the administration costs of working with a landowner to convince them to change the way they managed their land and support them with doing so?
No comment.


3.4 Single Unifying Act

141. Do you agree that any proposed changes to the existing legislation, not contained in the draft Bill or covered elsewhere in this consultation document, should be discussed directly with relevant organisations in England and Wales so that changes might be introduced in the resulting legislation, without the need for further general consultation?

We believe that consultation is needed for further proposed changes.


142. If so, are there any particular or general issues on which you would want to be involved
in this way?
We believe the key point omitted from this consultation is resilient repair. In our view,  changes to the building regulations should require flood zone properties to be repaired in a more flood resilient fashion. E.g. water resistant flooring, plaster etc.

4.1 Hosepipe bans


143. What non-essential uses of water do you think should be restricted in order to save water in times of drought?

No comment.


144. For those domestic uses of water which are not covered by the existing hosepipe ban powers, but which may be prohibited as a result of any changes, for example the cleaning of patios with a hosepipe or pressure washer or filling of domestic swimming pools, how can the cost of inconvenience to the householder be measured? Are you able to provide an assessment of the impacts?
No comment.


145. Some businesses could be affected at an earlier stage in a drought if further uses are prohibited. Are you able to provide any assessment of the likely impact and costs for businesses should they be unable to use water supplied through a hosepipe or similar apparatus?
There could be insurance implications for business that rely on a supply of water, for example, many properties have sprinklers for fire fighting purposes. This affects the estimated maximum loss on a property insurance.   


146. Do you agree that the legislation should not set a standard notice period? If not, what period would you suggest?
There should be a standard notice period, however the decision process in introducing the ban should be the shortest time possible. 


4.2 Power of entry – water resources functions

147. Do you agree that a power of entry should be introduced to cover the EA’s functions to measure and manage water resources?

No comment.


4.5 Water Administration Regime

148. Should the special administrator be required to pursue the rescue objective for viable water companies that experience financial difficulties?

No comment.


149. Should a hive-down provision be available in the water administration regime to make the transfer process more efficient?
No comment.

150. Do you agree that we should remove the right of an undertaker to veto a transfer?
No comment.


4.6 DWI Recovery of Charges

151. Do you agree that DWI should introduce charging to recover the cost of their regulatory activities from water companies and licensed water suppliers in line with other water regulators?
No comment.


152. Do you agree with the principle that charges to individual water companies and licensed water suppliers should be proportional to the relative regulatory burden they represent?
Yes.


4.8 Misconnections

153. Do you agree that powers should be given to sewerage companies to require householders to rectify misconnections as described above? Are there alternatives?

No. In our view, as it is developers/builders that cause the problem, each case should be dealt with individually and on its own merits.


4.9 Development of a project based delivery approach for large infrastructure projects in the water sector

154. Do you agree that a project-based approach would reveal optimal funding structures?

No comment.


155. Are there alternative approaches to securing effective and properly regulated collaborative projects that could be explored?
No comment.


156. Do you agree that consumers would benefit from a project-based approach to suitable large projects?
No comment.


157. Do you agree that existing water companies would normally be best placed to manage the procurement exercise?
Yes.


158. What types of projects should be covered by the regime?
No comment.


4.10 Complaint handling powers

159. Do you agree that these changes provide for the most appropriate body to handle complaints?
No comment.


4.11 Securing compliance

160. Do you agree that these changes will enhance Ofwat’s ability to protect customers?

No comment.


5.3 Hydromorphology powers

161. Do you agree that a power to improve the hydromorphological condition of water bodies in England and Wales is necessary to deliver WFD requirements on hydromorphology?

Please state why.
Yes.


162. Do you agree with these criteria for the use of the power?
No comment.


163. Do you think this proposal provides an appropriate mechanism to enable improvement of hydromorphological conditions?
No comment.


Annex A – The policy position in Wales
Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management

164. Should all operating authorities be required to contribute to sustainable development objectives when carrying out flood and coastal erosion risk management?

Yes


165. Is the proposed allocation of an enhanced oversight role to the EA in Wales appropriate?
Yes


166. Will the scope of the proposed role allow the EA in Wales to adequately support the Welsh Assembly Government in driving forward a single overarching approach to flood and coastal erosion risk management?
Yes, it is a move in the right direction.


Understanding the Local Risk

167. Is there a need for an enhanced understanding of all local flood risks in Wales, and if so which risks should be included?

Yes


168. Do we need to produce Local Surface Water Management Plans in Wales? If so, what form should they take and what should be included?
Yes.  These should mirror those in the UK.


169. Do you agree that local authorities are best placed to lead on local flood risks and specifically surface water flood risk management?
Yes, but with the overall co-ordination of the EA.


170. How might different maps work and plans for addressing different sources of flood risk be best integrated?
Yes, but with the overall co-ordination of the EA.


Roles & Responsibilities

171. Is the split of responsibility between the key operating authorities appropriate?

The EA must still have a leading role as flooding knows no political boundaries.


172. Does the suggested split of responsibilities make it easy to understand which operating authority is responsible for which risks of flooding?
Yes


173. Will the suggested split of responsibilities ensure that the gaps in coverage of the current systems are addressed and filled?
This is vital. We must ensure that all gaps are filled and that all issues are dealt with.


Flood Risk Management Wales

174. Should the role and remit of Flood Risk Management Wales remain limited to the risks of flooding from main rivers and the sea regardless of the role and remit of the Environment Agency?

Yes.   The whole of the UK must be considered by the EA.


175. If the remit of the Committee is to be changed then what should be the extent of the Committee role?
No comment.


176. If the role and remit of Flood Risk Management Wales is extended, how often should the Committee meet?
No comment.


177. Should Flood Risk Management Wales remain an executive committee of the EA, or should it become an advisory committee and why?
They should act as an advisory committee, to ensure the EA have all the necessary powers.


178. Should Flood Risk Management Wales’ existing levy raising powers in respect of flood risk management be extended to encompass coastal erosion risk management.
No comment.


Risk Management Planning
179. Do you agree that local authorities should be responsible for the production of PFRAs for local flood risks?
Yes


180. Subject to your views in relation to Surface Water Management Plans in paragraphs 23 to 26 above, do you consider them to be a suitable format for the completion of PFRAs in respect of local flood risks?
Yes


181. If there is no requirement to produce Surface Water Management Plans in Wales, what should be done to meet the requirements of the Floods Directive in respect of local flood risks?
Surface water management plans are essential and this must be addressed. In Wales surface water floods were responsible for a large proportion of the 2007 UK floods and must be addressed throughout the UK by this bill.


• We would be interested in your responses to the questions posed in Section 2.8 as well as the ones below.

182. Do you agree that local authorities should be responsible for the production of maps for local flood risks?

Flood maps are vital for the insurance industry and local authorities should support the EA with production of local flood risk maps


183. Subject to your views in relation to Surface Water Management Plans in paragraphs 23 to 26 above, do you consider them to be a suitable format for the mapping required in respect of local flood risks?
Yes


184. If there is no requirement to produce Surface Water Management Plans in Wales, what should be done to meet the mapping requirements of the Floods Directive in respect of local flood risks?
There should be such a requirement.


185. Do you agree that the legislation should include flexibility to change the planning and mapping requirements over time to take account of future developments? 
Yes. In our view this is essential.


Sustainable Drainage Systems
In addition to the questions in Section 2.6 Welsh Ministers are seeking views on the following questions, which are specific to Wales


186. Which is the most appropriate organisation to take responsibility for adoption and management of SUDS in Wales:
• local authorities;
• sewerage undertakers; or
• another body (please specify)?


No comment


187. Should there be flexibility within the system to appoint different organisations as SUDS Adopting Bodies in different areas?
See our response above.


188. Should the automatic right to connect to a public sewer be amended for new sites and redevelopments as proposed in Section 2.6 above?
No comment.


Thank you for taking the time to consider our response. If you have any further queries please contact Graeme Trudgill, BIBA’s Technical and Corporate Affairs Executive   on 02073970218 or at [email protected]; Steve Foulsham, BIBA’s Technical Services Manager on 02073970234 or at [email protected] or Peter Staddon, Head of Technical Services on 02073970204 or at [email protected]


Yours sincerely


Eric Galbraith
Chief Executive


Direct Tel:  020 7397 0201
Direct Fax: 020 7626 9676
Email:
[email protected]