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Don't let water companies off the SUDs hook

There is already debate over the roles of local authorities and the Environment Agency in dealing with surface water flooding.

Local authorities should be central to detailed planning, but not all issues fit within the boundaries of a given local authority, and some coordination is needed.

It should not be beyond the wit of engineers or politicians to come up with an integrated structure for what should be integrated solutions.

And speaking of integration, the report and comment on it so far seems to make little mention of water companies.

They own and control one of the main means of draining surface water – the surface water and combined sewer networks.

As private, but regulated, companies, it may be awkward to define their position in a new framework, but it is essential that this happens.

It is also essential that Ofwat is involved, so that needs identified on the one hand can be matched to capital programmes on the other – there is potential for clashes and delay if the
processes are not aligned.

The nation needs a sane debate on the issues and to reach the best decisions available.

- KRISTIAN RAVNKILDE, senior engineer, Water & Environment, Atkins, Broadgate House, Broadgate, Beeston, Nottingham NG9 2HF

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