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New registers of unrecorded flood defences could be patchy, says report

Legislation to catalogue structures whose effect on flood risk has gone unrecorded contains flaws that could lead to inconsistent knowledge of flood defence infrastructure across England, the National Audit Office (NAO) has said.

Under the Flood and Water Management Act 2010, lead local flood authorities must develop registers detailing the ownership and condition of all features that significantly affect flood risk, even though they may not have been intended as flood defences, such as boundary walls, culverts and embankments.

However, the NAO said in its Flood Risk Management in England report, published today, that the law allows each local authority to decide what information to record, what is the definition of “significant”, what systems to use to record this data, and how quickly to populate their registers.

This is likely to lead to local registers that are not integrated with each other, that are not compatible with other local or national systems, and that ultimately hamper information-sharing, the NAO said.

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