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Flood law will cost councils

Many local authorities face a skills crisis as they attempt to comply with new floods legislation.

They could be forced to turn to external consultants, industry bodies said this week.

The Flood and Water Management Act requires local flood authorities to prepare risk management strategies, and under the European Union Floods Directive a Preliminary Flood Risk Assessment (PFRA) by June 2011 - but many local authorities lack the necessary expertise.

“Many of them currently don’t have the expertise at all, nor the funding stream,” said Association of Drainage Authorities chief executive and former ICE president Jean Venables.

“There are shortages in engineering and planning,” said Local Government Authority policy consultant Vanessa Goodchild-Bradley. Outside consultants will increase the financial burden on councils, she said.

Goodchild-Bradley said Lincolnshire County Council has said it will need to use external consultants at a cost of £50-100,000, despite being “ahead of the game on flood risk”.

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