The draft Flood and Water Management Bill, designed to improve how the UK prepares for and responds to flood emergencies and better protect water supplies during drought, has been published for public consultation by environment secretary Hilary Benn.
The aims of the draft Bill are to:
- Reduce the likelihood and impacts of flooding
- Improve our ability to manage the risk of flooding, by clarifying who is responsible for what
- Improve water quality
- Give water companies better powers to conserve water during drought
- Reduce red tape and other burdens on water and sewerage companies
- Improve the overall efficiency and management of the industry
- Reduce pollution and improve water quality
“The draft Bill will implement the key recommendations made in Sir Michael Pitt’s independent review into the summer 2007 floods, as promised in the government’s response in December,” said Benn.
“It includes giving local authorities a clear leadership role in local flood risk management, encompassing all sources of flooding . It would also introduce a modern risk-based approach to reservoir safety to replace the current system where regulation depends on size rather than the risk posed to surrounding communities.
“In addition to the provisions on flooding, the draft Bill includes measures to improve conservation of water in times of drought and the regulation of the water industry, and it will enable water companies to develop new ways of delivering very large infrastructure projects.
The draft Bill and associated consultation paper also cover all the remaining legislation necessary to give full effect to the government’s policy statements Making space for water and Future Water.
Publication of the draft Bill follows the government response to the Pitt’s Review. In its response the government undertook to act on all 92 recommendations of that Review.
The consultation will be open until 24 July.