To receive the report of the Executive Manager for Flood Risk and Climate Resilience which reflects on the year since the Local Flood Risk Management Strategy was launched, and provides a summary of the future planned measures.
The Committee considered the report of the Executive Manager, Flood Risk and Climate Resilience, on the implementation of the Local Flood Risk Management Strategy. The report examined the implementation of the Strategy over the last 12 months and provided a summary of the measures proposed for the years ahead.
Jonathan Moxon, Executive Manager, Flood Risk & Climate Resilience, attended the meeting and highlighted the work of the Flood Risk Management (FRM) Team within the Highways and Transportation Service which manages flood risk through planning, Incident Management and also operates/builds assets and manages risks and works with the Climate, Energy and Green Spaces Team on climate and adaption.
The Committee received a presentation highlighting works undertaken in the previous 12 months, measures proposed and issues to consider:
Weather - Through images of flooding, the Committee heard that climate change increased the likelihood of more frequent and more significant flooding. Globally, more unpredictable weather has been experienced with warmer, drier summers and wetter winters. The team collects and tracks data on rainfall incidents and events to inform planning, rainfall is tracked by catchment areas and the team focuses on those incidents which adversely affect blue light incident highway routes, and internal/or external property flooding.
Planning Process – The FRM team is a statutory consultee on planning applications and process on average 150 planning applications a month. Works such as the review of Sheepscar Beck assets where the walls are in private ownership, are managed through planning applications as they are submitted. It is expected that Schedule 3 of the Flood and Water Management Act, relating to Sustainable Urban Drainage (SUDS) will be enacted in 2024 which will require input from the team. This will have an impact on the local authority and resource planning and discussions with colleagues in other Yorkshire Local Authorities had begun to consider how to implement the changes collectively.
SUDS Approving Body (SAB) – Schedule 3 will bring a new assurance process alongside the planning process which will require developers to obtain both planning approval and a SAB approval. The FRM team will have a statutory consultee role along with other water, sewerage companies and the Environment Agency. SAB requirements will affect developments of more than 1 property/100 sqm and will amend Section 106 of the Water Industry Act 1991 which manages how new development connections are made to existing sewers/drainage systems.
Flood Alleviation Scheme Capital Programme – In respect of FAS Phase1 in the city centre, downstream of the station, this scheme was now operational with duty teams on call 24/7. The area is now managed through the weirs and prevents flooding in the city centre. New technology which is used to monitor /predict flow and collect data is being considered to replace existing which can be damaged by the water and rubbish.
FAS Phase 2 is being delivered and managed along the Aire by the FRM team through powers delegated by the Environment Agency and will protect the city against a flood on the scale of the 2015 incident, but climate change will add to that risk. The scheme runs to the west of the city from the railway station to Bradford. The team has also completed the Otley FAS and the Mickletown FAS, using funds entirely from developers. Other works in progress include Wortley Beck a review of the assets at Sheepscar Beck. The team was also reviewing natural flood management measures across the city including soil management and tree planting to manage risk of run-off.
Emissions – The FRM team compares the carbon emitted to undertake works against the carbon emitted to deal with the impact of a flood. The development of the Otley scheme produced half the emissions that dealing with a flood would cause.
Natural Flood Management – It is believed that the impact of climate change will bring 7.9% more rain to the city, so natural flood management measures such as tree planting and soil management need to be included in schemes to maximise the benefits to be gained from engineering works.
The following matters were discussed with the Committee:
Development on areas of flood risk - Technical approval would not be given to a scheme which proposed properties at flood risk themselves or that will increase flood risk to existing properties. Developers are not prevented from building on flood risk land, but they must include measures to mitigate risk.
The Wharfe (East of the city) - A modelling scheme for whole of the city on Wharfe was drafted, with Otley being the first scheme implemented. Consultation led by the Environment Agency was underway with local Wharfedale communities on options for work elsewhere on the Wharfe.
Hydro-Electric Installations – Installation of hydro-electric schemes was difficult, the original Knostrop scheme did include hydro-electric but was not implemented due to its negative impact on fish which could not be mitigated.
Planning process - The relationship between Planning Services/Development Management and the FRM team was effective with the necessary policies in place. In terms of capacity and skills, it was acknowledged that there were areas for development and all planning authorities were considering technology and net zero aspirations and the areas where there was challenge and conflict between policies.
Meanwood Beck – A study of Meanwood Beck is ongoing with modelling completed of the proposed works which would complement the Sheepscar works – an update to local ward Councillors will be provided shortly.
Surface Water – in response to a query whether surface water in the city centre was caused by the loss of grass/greenspace elsewhere, the Committee noted that OfWAT was considering the use of incentives such as discounted water bills for people who do not pave their gardens/driveways. The use of SUDS on new developments and retro-fitting SUDS to existing properties where they experience very localised flooding remained the team’s focus.
Council Services Preparations – Adaption to climate change and improving the city’s resilience are just as essential as addressing carbon emissions. Every service will be impacted by climate change and consideration must be given to support each part of the Council to assess its risk and plan operations accordingly.
The Committee thanked Jonathan for the presentation and discussions and
a) To note the implementation of the Strategy and that the comments provided will help inform its further development and be considered at the next strategy update due to take place in 2024.
b) That the CEAC Working Groups consider the following in due course:
· Infrastructure, Planning & Buildings - Surface water incentives
· Communities &Business Engagement - Monitoring indicators and improving engagement.