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Local authorities to manage SuDS

MPs want local authorities to maintain sustainable drainage systems (SuDS) and surface water drainage, a flooding report issued by the environment, food and rural affairs committee (Efra) said today.

Efra found that confusion about who owned which drains contributed to flooding and recommended that local authorities be required to compile a register of all flood management and drainage assets including details of their owner and an assessment of their condition.

It also believes that local authorities should be responsible for the ownership and maintenance of Suds.

"The lack of clarity about responsibility for the ownership and maintenance seems to be holding back the adoption of SUDs," said the report.

"Local authorities already have a number of key roles that link to SUDs, in land planning, managing open spaces, as highways authority, and their wider responsibilities for local sustainability issues. This new responsibility would be an integral part of their statutory duty for surface water drainage."

Efra also believes that by charging for surface water drainage the take up of Suds could be increased.

This week as rumours abound on Environment Agency chief executive Barbara Young's possible move to the Department of Health, the chairman of the efra committee, the Rt Hon Michael Jack MP had a suggestion on her replacement.

"The appointment of Sir Michael Pitt as the Environment Agency's 'flood supremo' would be a powerful first step to ensuring that the 'lessons learnt' are implemented in reality," said Jack.

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