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Agenda item

Flood Risk Management Update


To provide the Committee with a structured summary of the review, the areas explored, relevant findings and a proposed way forward that will not only meet current but future challenges facing the District and its residents regarding the risk from flooding.



That the Committee considers the outcomes of the review and agrees the recommendations outlined within the report.


Phil Martin, Assistant Director for Business Services, introduced the Flood Risk Management Service Review Report, additionally stating that due to the date of the Committee meeting being delayed, the report had previously been approved by Executive, and the additional funding was built into the 2023-24 Budget.

The Assistant Director provided a general update on flood related activities that Council had been involved with, which included an update on the flood warden pilot scheme, set up with Oxfordshire County Council (OCC) and Witney Town Council. The Assistant Director further updated on the outcome of discussions with the Environment Agency (EA) and Witney Flood Mitigation Group (WFMG) regarding the installation of both an electronic sensor to help improve the resilience of the current EA flood warning system, and installation of additional physical gauge boards. The Assistant Director outlined the work of an informal working group led by the Executive Member for the Environment, which had met with Thames Water (TW) over a number of months, focusing on the current capacity of local Sewage treatment works, and how Thames Water calculates volumes and flows to help process and work on the development of a Grampian condition.

The Committee were pleased to learn of the additional resource, and suggested that the following should be added to the job description of the Senior Flood Engineer role:

           Maintenance and inspection of water quality and aquatic life;

           Liaison with all stakeholders and partnerships.

Members were also keen for WODC to inform EA, TW and other parties what standard is expected from them, and to actively monitor their performance where possible. It was also suggested that once the team had recruited the additional posts, information on activities such as gully clearance and OCC highways would be made available & sign posted to. 

The Vice-Chair expanded on some of the points The Assistant Director had covered, referencing a summary document that had been devised, to be shared with the Committee at the next meeting. 

The Assistant Director confirmed that the letter that the Committee requested to be written to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs had been replied to, and a copy of the reply was shared with the Councillors of the Committee.

In the wider debate, Councillors reflected on the following:

           Lengthy process for riparian owners to attain permits;

           WODC control of smaller water courses;

           Parish and Town Councils experiencing lengthy process for permits;

           Ownership of a map identifying where problems exist;

           TW not a statutory consultee on planning applications but required to respond due to potential adverse impacts on the ultimate decision;

           How treatment processes work;

           Resource restraints on TW and EA.

The Vice-Chair announced that the agency agreement with the Lead Local Flood Authority (OCC) would be signed after the meeting.

The Assistant Director agreed to update the Committee on the progress of the gauge boards to the next meeting.

The Committee considered the outcomes of the reviews within the report.

Committee Resolved to:

  1. Agree the recommendations within the report.

Supporting documents: