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 - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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  • Somerset Flooding Summit

    The Role of Riparian Owners

    Graham ClarkCLA 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

    Recommendations looking forward

    Scope of talk

  • 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

  • Those owning land beside ditch, stream, riverRightsTo receive water in natural quantity & qualityTo protect property from flooding & erosion subject to consents regimeResponsibilitiesLet water flow through land without obstruction, pollution, diversionKeep banks, bed & structures clear of obstructionNotify EA/Local authority if building or altering structure which obstructs a watercourseProtect water quality, wildlife & habitat

    Role of Riparian Landowners

  • 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 BoardsRole of Riparian Landowners

  • 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

    EAs national budget for maintenance severely cut meaning less work can be done2010/11 c.100m2013/14 c.70m2014/15 c.60m

    Riparian Landowners perspective

  • 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 Landowners perspective

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

    Most of the areas environmental interest SSSIs, 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 & agricultureLooking forward

  • 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

  • Graham Clark

    SW Regional SurveyorCLAHartham ParkCorshamWiltshireSN13 0RP

    graham.clark@cla.org.uk

    **********

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