Water & Marine: Flood and coastal erosion

These regulations cover flood and coastal erosion risk management. They include regulations relating to flood risk management, coastal protection, and reservoir safety. They also include regulations relating to land drainage.

We want to hear your views on how we could reduce regulatory burdens, and improve implementation of these regulations; to ensure that we can reduce the threat of flooding and coastal erosion in the most effective way. For example would it be useful to consolidate all of the requirements for the Flood and Water Management 2010 Act into one comprehensible, legal document?

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Reservoirs Act 1975

The Reservoirs Act 1975 provides a regulatory regime for the safety of reservoirs and applies to all reservoirs with a capacity of more than 25000 cubic metres.

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Domestic regulation

Reservoirs (Panels of Civil Engineers) (Application and Fees) Regulations 1992

These regulations prescribe the manner in which a civil engineer may apply to be appointed or reappointed to an existing panel of civil engineers set up for the purposes of the Reservoirs Act 1975.

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Domestic regulation

Reservoirs (Panels of Civil Engineers) (Application and Fees) (Amendment) Regulations 2005

These regulations modify fees for the appointment or reappointment of panels of civil engineers, to inspect all reservoirs covered by the Act & supervise necessary maintenance or repairs to ensure compliance with the Act.

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Domestic regulation

Reservoirs Act 1975 (Certificates, Reports and Prescribed Information) Regulations 1986

These regulations prescribe the form in which reports/certificates should be given by a civil engineer engaged on work in connection with a large raised reservoir.

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Domestic regulation

Reservoirs Act 1975 (Referees) (Appointment and Procedure) Rules 1986

Set out rules for the appointment of referees. A referee is appointed when the undertakers of a reservoir dispute the recommendations of a civil engineer’s report which recommends safety measures to be taken or a time for the next inspection.

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Domestic regulation

Reservoirs Act 1975 (Registers, Reports and Records) Regulations 1985

Prescribe information about large raised reservoirs to be given in the register of reservoirs, including steps enforcement authorities & undertakers should take to ensure compliance, information to be recorded & the form of this information.

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Domestic regulation

Reservoirs Act 1975 (Registers, Reports and Records) (Amendment) Regulations 1985

These regulations amend the prescribed form of records kept by undertakers to make provision for information as to level above Ordnance Datum of the top of the dam, reservoir wall and the top of the wave wall.

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Domestic regulation

Flood Risk (Cross Border Areas) Regulations 2010

The purpose is to set out arrangements for co-ordination of the EU Floods Directive for river catchments that cross the border between England & Scotland. The EU Floods Directive requires co-ordination to take place across national boundaries.

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EU regulation

Flood Risk Management Functions Order 2010

To include functions of the EA & LLFAs under Flood Risk Regulations 2010 & functions of sewerage undertakers under s94 of Water Industry Act 1991 to a list defining flood risk management functions that may be exercised by authorities under the Act.

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EU regulation

Flood Risk Regulations 2009

Transpose the EU Directive for the Assessment and Management of Flood Risk, known as the Floods Directive, which seeks to achieve the reduction of damage from flooding on human health, environment & economy.

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EU regulation

Coast Protection Act 1949 – s. 7 Works schemes providing for coast protection charges.

This allows for authorities to levy charges on beneficiaries of coastal protection schemes and sets limits on how much can be charged and how it should be calculated.

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Domestic regulation

Coast Protection Act 1949 – s.12 General powers of maintenance and repair of works

Enables Coast Protection Authority (CPA) to serve notice on a landowner require them to carry out repair or maintenance works (i.e. on defences) and enables CPA to make arrangements itself for repairs and maintenance to be done where urgent.

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Domestic regulation

Coast Protection Act 1949 – s.13 Recovery of cost of maintenance of works not constucted under works schemes.

Enables Coast Protection Authority (CPA) to recover from landowners the cost of any maintenance works the CPA has carried out on defences on their land, where this is not part of a works scheme.

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Domestic regulation

Coast Protection Act 1949 – s.14 Compulsory acquisition of land.

This allows for the compulsory acquisition of land for purposes of coastal defence schemes by a Coast Protection Authority, if it appears the land value immediately after the completion of the work would be greater than if the work had not occured.

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Domestic regulation

Coast Protection Act 1949 – s. 16 Consent of coast protection authority required to carrying out of coast protection work. [+s. 43 penalties for offences]

Makes it illegal for people to carry out on work without consent of the Coast Protection Authority (CPA) in writing. The CPA can issue a notice of requirement to rectify or can rectify themselves and recover the money.

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Domestic regulation

Coast Protection Act 1949 – s. 17 Notification to coast protection authority of coast protection work to be carried out by certain authorities.

These provisions exempt certain authorities from s16 of the Act, and state that these authorities must give the coast protection authority 28 days notice of their intention to carry out works. It is an offence to contravene these provisions.

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Domestic regulation

Coast Protection Act 1949 – s. 19 Provisions as to compensation.

Compensation for the depreciation of value of a person’s interest in land in consequence of works by a CPA, or damage suffered by being disturbed in enjoyment of land or of refusal of consent for works. Those seeking compensation to claim with 12 months.

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Domestic regulation

Coast Protection Act 1949 – s. 25 Powers of entry and inspection.

These provisions relate to powers of entry & inspection and set out the circumstances in which any person authorised by a coast protection authority may enter land. Authorised persons must produce authorisation if required must enter at a reasonable hour.

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Domestic regulation

Coast Protection Act 1949 – s.26 Power of coast protection authorities to require information as to ownership of land.

These provisions relate to the powers of coast protection authorities to require information as to the ownership of land. It is illegal to fail to provide information or to provide false information.

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Domestic regulation

Coast Protection Act 1949 – s. 27 Acquisition by coast protection authority of right of passage for facilitating coast protection work.

These provisions relate to the acquisition by coast protection authorities of right of passage in order to facilitate coast protection works.

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Domestic regulation

Coast Protection Act 1949 – s. 34 Restriction of works detrimental to navigation [+ s. 36 Enforcement of s. 34]

These provisons make restrictions on works detrimental to navigation. Persons cannot carry out work, remove or deposit without consent which might affect navigation routes

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Domestic regulation

Coast Protection Act 1949 – s. 36A Imposition by Secretary of State of safety requirements in cases of emergency.

These provisions impose safety requirements in cases of emergency, by the Secretary of State. They require persons to make arrangements within 24hrs to make safe any fault to works following consent for those works

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Domestic regulation

Water Resources Act s109

These provisions say that those wishing to carry out works that may obstruct or affect the flow of main river must get prior consent of EA (right of appeal in s110)

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Domestic regulation

Code of Practice on Environmental Procedure for Flood Defence Operating Authorities (Environment Agency) Approval Order

Give formal Ministerial approval to a code of practice on environment procedure for flood defence operating authorities. Orders made under Land Drainage Act 1991 & Environment Act 1995, & Minister gave statutory weight to guidance provided by code.

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Domestic regulation

Code of Practice on Environmental Procedure for Flood Defence Operating Authorities (Internal Drainage Boards and Local Authorities) Approval Order

Give formal Ministerial approval to a code of practice on environment procedure for flood defence operating authorities. Orders made under Land Drainage Act 1991 & Environment Act 1995, & Minister gave statutory weight to guidance provided by code.

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Domestic regulation

The Environmental Impact Assessment (Land Drainage Improvement Works) (Amendments) Regulations

These regulations made minor amendments to clarifying details on the nature of the public notice required on the site of proposed improvement works.

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Domestic regulation

The Environmental Impact Assessment (Land Drainage Improvement Works) (Amendment) Regulations

The 2005 Regulations make amendments to increase public participation in determining if works should be carried out & further miscellaneous amendments. These changes were required by Directive 2003/35/EC and to clarify definitions in the 1999 Regulations.

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Domestic regulation

The Environmental Impact Assessment (Land Drainage Improvement Works) Regulations 1999

Assessment of effects of certain public & private land drainage projects in England & Wales on the environment. The regulations prohibit drainage bodies from carrying out improvement works unless specified conditions are met.

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Domestic regulation

Land Drainage Act 1991, s 2 & 3, schedule 3 (agricultural rate payers can request boundary changes so we can include)

These regulations review the boundaries of internal drainage districts. Schemes for reorganisation of internal drainage districts etc.

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Domestic regulation

Land Drainage Act 1991 s 22

Powers of Ministers to authorise landowners to carry out drainage works where there is an objection or disability of any person whose land would be entered, cut through or interefered with because of the works and where the works would improve the land.

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Domestic regulation

Land Drainage Act 1991 s23

Those wishing to carry out works that may obstruct or affect the flow of an ordinary water course must get prior consent of the relevant Internal Drainage Board or the Environment Agency (soon to be the Lead Local Flood Authority (right of appeal in s24).

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Domestic regulation

Land Drainage Act 1991 s25

Where any ordinary watercourse is in such a condition that the proper flow of water is impeded, an IDB/ EA/LLFA can require the responsbile person to do works to remedy that condition (right of appeal in s27)

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Domestic regulation

Land Drainage Act 1991 s52 (only impacts IDBs therefore lower priority)

These provisions say that Internal Drainage Boards must prepare a register of drainage hereditaments, along with maps showing the particulars of those hereditaments.

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Domestic regulation

Land Drainage Act 1991 s73, 2 (v low priority- public bodies only – but could consolidate arbitration arrangements)

These regulatiosn relate to disputes as to whether works connected with a main river are drainage works. If such a dispute arises, a Minister may be referred to for decision or it can go to arbitration.

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Domestic regulation

Land Drainage Act 1991 (schedule 1, sec 2, 3, 4) (electors are farmers)

These provisions set out the eligibility of electors, the number of votes for each elector based on the value of their property, and the criteria to qualify for election.

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Domestic regulation

Flood and Water management Act 2010 s14

This section provides powers for the Environment Agency and Lead Local Flood Authroitues to to ask persons for information in connection with the authority’s flood and coastal erosion risk management functions.

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Domestic regulation

Thames Barrier and Flood Prevention Act 1972 (Amendment) Order 1986

This order transfers the functions under the Thames Barrier and Flood Prevention Act 1972 from the Greater London Council to the Thames Water Authority and makes minor consequential amendments to the 1972 Act.

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Domestic regulation

Severn Trent Water Authority Act 1983, Section 40

Section 40 relates to undertakings (by landowners) to allow the carrying out of works to flood defences, which are binding on successive owners of that land. Works may be undertaken by the landowner, or EA.

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Domestic regulation

Kingston Upon Hull Act 1984

These regulations place obligations on frontage owners on the River Hull that lies within the city of Kingston upon Hull, with the City Council and EA having enforcement powers.

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Domestic regulation

Metropolis Management (Thames River Prevention of Floods) Amendment Act 1879

Amendments to the named Act relating to protection of the Metropolis from Floods & Inundations. S21 requires maintenance of flood defences along the tidal River Thames though the defined “London Excluded Area” roughly corresponding to Greater London.

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Domestic regulation

Code of Practice on Environmental Procedure for Flood Defence Operating Authorities (Internal Drainage Boards and Local Authorities) Approval Order

This Order brings the Code of Practice into force. The Code gives practical guidance to IDBs and local authorities with regard to their duties in respect of the environment and recreation. It also promotes desirable practices.

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Domestic regulation

The Environmental Impact Assessment (Land Drainage Improvement Works) (Amendments) Regulations

This amendment says that drainage bodies may substitute one of the required newspaper notices for a notice on the site of the proposed land drainage improvement works.

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EU regulation

The Environmental Impact Assessment (Land Drainage Improvement Works) (Amendment) Regulations

These Regulations amend the Environment Impact Assessment (Land Drainage Improvement Works) Regulations 1999. The amendments relate to public participation in decision making as to whether works should go ahead, and how they should be notified.

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EU regulation

Land Drainage Act 1991 s28

gives powers to Agricultural Land Tribunal, on application of landowner or occupier, to make orders requiring the cleansing of ditches

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Domestic regulation

Public Health Act 1936 s262

These provisions give the local authority the power to require the owner of land where building is due to take place to wholly or partially fill up a watercourse or ditch, substitute it with a pipe, drain or culvert.

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Domestic regulation

Public Health Act 1936 s263

These provisions state that streams and watercourses in urban districts are not to be culverted or covered except in accordance with plans approved by the local authority.

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Domestic regulation

Public Health Act 1936 s264

The owner or occupier of land within a borough or rural district must repair, maintain and cleanse any culvert in or under land. If the owner or occupier does not, the local authority may require him to execute such works.

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Domestic regulation

Land Drainage Act 1994

These provisions give Internal Drainage Boards and local authorities duties with respect to environment and recreation.

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Domestic regulation

National Rivers Authority (Levies) Regulations 1993

Confer on the National Rivers Authority a power to issue levies to certain local authorities for the purpose of meeting the Authority’s expenses in respect of local flood defence districts in respect of financial years beginning in or after 1993.

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Domestic regulation

Tell us what you think should happen to these regulations and why, being specific where possible:

13 responses to Water & Marine: Flood and coastal erosion

  • Peter Hebard said on February 19, 2012 at 6:09 pm

    The following is an extract from presentations on how to deliver Integrated Environmental and Economic Management of our Marine and Coastal Zone as presented to Littoral 2010, Coastal Futures 2011 and a paper submitted to the ICE’s Coastal Management Conference by the undersigned and associates, all of which contain supporting illustrative examples.

    The principles therein also apply to the provision of flood protection inland and to every other sub-heading of this Marine and Water consultation, as the key is to include them all in developing mutually beneficial strategies.

    It is based on 40+ case studies around the UK and areas of the rest of the world, particularly those regions where regulation is less prevalent and pragmatic common sense to do what is best to sustain their coastal environment is the primary guiding principle. No sensible person could conceive of scrapping all Marine, Coastal, Flood and Water regulation, as asked at the outset of this consultation and since, I suspect, that was not the intention, this submission does not countenance it.

    Nonetheless, our rivers, coastlines and seas are the subject of an unprecedented increase in the overlying cobwebs of single-issue regulation and these are often administered by separate “Top-Down” government agencies with equally narrow responsibilities and outlook. Progress towards delivering the long-promised benefits of Integrated Coastal Zone Management has been painfully slow in the UK as a consequence.

    Furthermore, our Marine, Coastal and Estuarine environments face an increasingly wide range of challenges, many aggravated by human activity, as do those threatened by flood. Those challenges are fast overtaking us and regulatory protection is not enough. We need to do things differently, if we are to prevail, particularly in these times of financial restraint.

    Rather than rationalising regulation, much of which is dictated by EU and is enshrined in our own legislation, most experts now recognise that what is needed is a change of mindset in our approach to regulation, which this submission seeks to outline.

    The Opportunities

    Coastal Economies can sometimes become depressed but they can be regenerated far faster than their industrial counterparts and they can offer the growth potential we so urgently need. Sympathetically exploiting every aspect of marine resources and coastal assets can help to drive both Environmental and Economic regeneration and collaboration between stakeholders offers a far faster way to achieve recovery.

    Far from threatening the natural environment, the good husbandry to make our seas more productive can help to foster biodiversity too. Every human activity has an impact and by turning each from negative to positive is a powerful way to accelerate progress. Natural processes can also be harnessed to do what is needed in more benign and carbon efficient way.

    Many world-renowned experts are now highlighting the value of “eco-system services” of our marine and water environment. However, to realise that potential value requires an entirely different approach.

    Equally the real estate value of coastline and local areas threatened by flooding and coastal erosion, can help finance their protection, but the utmost discretion is required to ensure that value is not to be lost before it can be put to intelligent use.
    For example, whereas primary flood protection has been the responsibility of government, local collective measures to provide a second line of defence can be economically viable to small groups of property owners.

    Case studies around many UK coastal towns, harbours and further offshore have highlighted that many of the most pressing environmental and economic problems can be addressed simultaneously by more holistic approaches that deliver multiple benefits and can attract multiple sources of funding.

    Empowering Local Communities

    The Coalition’s focus on localism, “bottom-up” community-led strategies, rationalisation of agencies/quangos and, particularly, this initiative of reducing Red Tape, could offer a new way forward and the recently announced Coastal Communities and Catchment Restoration Funds provide ideal opportunities to demonstrate the benefits of allowing local Communities to develop their own integrated strategies and to pilot the more innovative technologies that can better address their wide-ranging environmental concerns.

    The Economy of such Coastal Communities is founded on their Environment, and empowering them to take control of its sympathetic and proactive management can deliver far more effective results, as further case studies around the world, particularly in the Southern hemisphere, have shown.

    DEFRA’s “Market Town Health Checks” piloted some years ago, provide the ideal mechanism for such communities to develop their own Action Plans, possibly under their Coastal or Local Enterprise Partnerships, led by local volunteers drawn from community and business leaders and in collaboration with local authorities. Dorset Coastal Forum and Suffolk Coastal Futures took a similar approach.

    Such pilots frequently found that the same solution could often address a several unrelated problems and opportunities, and be directed to offering yet more secondary benefits. (For example, a simple cost negative plan to return dredgings to saltmarshes, rather than dumping at sea, offered no less that eleven important additional benefits to every sector with an interest in the waterfront.) But for the regulatory hurdles, local stakeholders and community groups are often prepared to take such initiative forward from their own resources, at little or no cost to the Taxpayer.

    The Balanced Seas and the other similar Local Stakeholder Working Groups which helped recommend MCZs, and the recent Coastal Pathfinders set up to communicate the consequences of climate change, both revealed an enthusiasm for local communities to take control of their own destiny. They provide ready-made caucus of informed and interested parties to get such an initiative off the ground.

    Our regulatory and environmental research agencies have a wealth of expertise and switching their resources to providing constructive advice to such local groups and spreading best practice, rather than devoting their time to enforcing “tick box” regulation, often irrelevant to the locality, could make far better use of their resources.

    Equally since several agencies – for example Natural England, the Environment Agency and the Marine Management Organisation – are frequently legally required to be involved on the same project, each has to retain their own advisory consultancy, as does the applicant, and the cost of the paperwork can easily exceed that of the remedial work required.

    Moreover, since the responsibilities of each agency are very narrowly defined by law, they are frequently unable to consider any pragmatic all-embracing strategy, irrespective of the fact that it might be obvious common sense to the community and can be seen to offer them far wider benefits.

    Rationalising the Regulators

    The regulations may be difficult to rationalise but rationalising the regulators, such that the remaining few have far wider responsibilities, would enable them to take a more holistic overview of all relevant regulations. It would also reduce demand on Civil Servants, their retained consultants and every level of government.

    As a first stage, it would make eminent sense to merge Natural England and the Environment Agency, delegating much their role to local authority coastal management partnerships or possibly sharing local staff, whilst relying upon the remaining central staff for fundamental research into best practice and more innovative approaches.

    Equally, the Marine Management Organisation, which has the widest brief and is working hard to become self-funding, could absorb the IFCAs and merge their local offices to regulate fishing both inshore and offshore. Their local knowledge could be key to developing more pragmatic licensing solutions and more widely beneficial marine plans.

    A Far More Effective Approach to Environmental Risk Management

    Whereas the “Precautionary Principle” has its merits and may be required by EU law, it has come under fire in many sectors recently (by Cancer Research for example) with good reason, as it can inhibit more pragmatic action and stifle innovation, possibly partly because it is not in the best interest of Civil Servant’s career or that of his advisors to say “yes,” without other provisos.These add considerably to project costs and impose delays without necessarily reducing risk.

    Bench-marking against other sectors that manage far more challenging environmental and other risks, reveals that commercial risk management techniques, focused on developing action plans to address every real and known risk, are far more effective and have been proven to be reliable over many decades.

    In such sectors, it has long since been recognised that it is essential for those responsible for doing the work to have their own in-house expertise and risk management, as both the Quality Management Standard ISO 9001 and Environmental Management ISO 14001 demand. If not, they must retain a consultant capable of certifying to customers and third parties that they have met all the required standards and regulations. Irrespective, Directors can now be criminally liable for any failure, a far more effective way of ensuring compliance and managing risk.

    Asking central government agencies to oversee specialised projects, in a locality they may not be that familiar with, does little to further minimise risk.

    To Sum up

    As a Turnaround Manager of Technology-led companies for over twenty years, whilst also serving in a voluntary capacity on coastal projects, I had always been struck by the marked difference between Coastal Risk Management practice and those used by my primary Engineering profession. Independently, my prime associate, a practicing Risk Manager of Civil Engineering and Environmental Projects, had reached the same conclusion.

    The 40 + Case Studies used as the basis for the above, many of which have been re-examined hypothetically to assess the benefits of this approach, show that the results could surpass all expectations, accelerating the proactive measures needed, whilst offering major savings and wider economic benefits to both the public and private sector.

    Above all, simply by implementing all their avowed policies, the government could provide the catalyst for major Environmental and Economic regeneration, whilst offering major savings to the Taxpayer, albeit it may require a significant change in mindset to make it happen.

  • Peter Hebard said on March 8, 2012 at 9:05 am

    On a similar point, a recent EU project has revealed that the cost/hectare of Managed Retreat projects in the UK, corrected for inflation, has risen from £7000 to £47000 in 20 years, largely because the increasingly costly regulatory requirements and over-engineering in response. Furthermore, 54% of that is now in compensation for habitat lost to coastal squeeze and funded by the Taxpayer to meet EU regulatory requirements. With sea level rise and coastal erosion accelerating, the scale of such projects is accelerating rapidly too. However, they offer no net gain in habitat, neither do they provide any reduction in flood or erosion risk or economic benefit to local communities.

    Only 33% is directed to flood or coastal erosion risk management and the more obvious and cost-effective measures are not being pursued. For example, no one is even investigating known ways used elsewhere in the world to return all maintenance dredgings to coastal saltmarshes, apart from token amounts. This would not only slow the rate of erosion and reduce the dredging costs of dumping far offshore but, in turn, it would reduce the need for compensatory habitat creation in the first place.

    The vast majority is dumped offshore, whereas it perfectly possible to use cost -negative nearshore direct dumping and harness waves and natural processes to carry the sediment back in, as they do else where in Europe and the Southern Hemisphere. However, this apparently not permissible under the Habitat regulations, as you cannot quantify the beneficial effect precisely, regulatory requirement, even though it would obviously be much than the token amount achievable by pumping, the only method that can be quantified but which is too slow and costly to be used for all.

    The collective impact of all these regulatory interpretations is such that the proportion of EA’s budget remaining for genuine flood and coast risk management for property, businesses and people is very seriously depleted.

    Equally in another example the premature devaluation of threatened real estate caused by the publication of Flood and Coastal Erosion risk maps precludes many property owners from getting together and raising the finance to defend their own local community or coastline. Conversely, in the Southern Hemisphere the practice is only to inform those directly affected confidentially and encourage them to manage their own risk collectively, often by more innovative and cost effective ways that provide a wide range of secondary benefits. As a result in one example they found the every dollar spent on the beach returned 50 dollars back into the local economy. They do not have the same insurance blight problems either.

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