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The Environment Agency is responsible for managing flood risk from main rivers, the sea and reservoirs. Lead local flood authorities, unitary authorities or county councils, are responsible for local sources of flood risk, in particular surface water, groundwater and ordinary watercourses.
To manage flood risk both the Environment Agency and lead local flood authorities must follow a 6 year cycle of planning. The planning stages are:
complete a preliminary flood risk assessment and identify flood risk areas
prepare flood risk maps and flood hazard maps for rivers, the sea, surface water, reservoirs
prepare flood risk management plans
Each stage is completed for all river basin districts in each cycle.