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Make minor roads flood channels, says DEFRA


MINOR ROADS across the country could be deliberately flooded under a new strategy for managing flood and coastal erosion risk, a leading environment department official said last week.

Plans to use minor roads as flood channels could be included within an integrated drainage plan developed for urban areas, he said.

The Department for the Environment Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) unveiled the proposals at its annual Flood & Coastal Management conference last week.

'In some cases these roads might be appropriate flood conduits and it would be part of the integrated drainage plan, ' said DEFRA strategy manager Alison Cambray.

A consultation document for the new strategy entitled Making Way for Rivers is being reviewed by a number of government departments.

After the review, the document will be released for a 12 week consultation. Publication is scheduled for the end of the month.

The new strategy, effective from early 2005, will update DEFRA's 1993 flood and coastal defence strategy, taking into account climate change. It will also reflect the move towards managing flood risk rather than simply building more defences.

The document also suggests that those protected by new flood defence schemes should contribute towards their construction cost.

The consultation document is expected to recommend that river corridors and shorelines should be realigned to create more space for water.

DEFRA also wants to see one body take charge of urban drainage. This could be the Environment Agency, local authorities or sewerage undertakers.

Various organisations are currently responsible for urban flooding and no organisation is responsible for groundwater flooding.

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