Flooding and coastal change: guidance for practitioners

Guidance for flood risk management authorities and those working in the flood and coastal risk management sector.

This guide sets out detailed information for flood risk management authorities and others involved in managing flood and coastal erosion risks in England.

In addition, Defra has issued guidance and information notes on a variety of issues which can be accessed through the flood risk legislation and guidance guide.

Model land drainage byelaws

Internal Drainage Boards (IDBs) and local authorities have the power, under the Land Drainage Act 1991, to make byelaws ‘for the purpose of preventing flooding or remedying or mitigating any damage caused by flooding’.

Defra has published model byelaws which give IDBs and local authorities an indication of how they could use their powers. Adopt byelaws only as genuinely required to address an existing problem.

Using natural processes and land management approaches

Land management practices can help to manage flood risk at a local level. For example, reducing run-off and sedimentation in water courses or the restoration of wetlands and woodlands may reduce the level of flooding downstream. Such initiatives may also have wider environmental and social benefits, including creating species-rich wildlife habitats, reducing carbon emissions and improving water quality.

More information on managing flood risk by working with natural processes is available on the Environment Agency’s website.

Multiple objective land management demonstration projects

Defra’s flood management programme is supporting 3 projects which aim to demonstrate the contributions that land management changes could make to managing local flood risk, at the same time as contributing to wider environmental objectives.

Each project is a collaborative initiative led by Forest Research, the National Trust and the Environment Agency respectively. Work started in the summer of 2009. The first 2 to 3 years was directed towards making the land management changes. The projects are now focused on monitoring the impacts of the changes with a view to evaluating the benefits and reporting the outcomes in 2015.

Further details:

Flood portal

Further information for practitioners is also on the local government association’s flood portal

Updates to this page

Published 9 April 2013
Last updated 27 May 2016 + show all updates
  1. Removed the model byelaws and pointed to the new guide Flood risk and land drainage byelaws, which now hosts the model byelaws and explains how to use them.

  2. Moved this section to Reservoir safety Information for undertakers about reservoir management and safety regulation under the Reservoirs Act 1975 can be found on the Environment Agency’s website at [Environment Agency - Reservoirs]( Research is mostly available on the Environment Agency’s website. Please email []( if you wish to obtain any of the reports listed within the [InlineAttachment:5]. In February 2015, Defra announced that it would not be making further changes to the reservoir safety regulatory regime at the present time. The [InlineAttachment:11] provides an explanation for this decision. ### Application process for panel engineers The Reservoirs Act 1975 requires reservoir undertakers to appoint specialist engineers from a series of panels. Engineers wanting to apply or reapply to any of the panels should email their application to []( A cheque for £385 made payable to ‘Defra’ should be sent to: $A Reservoir Safety Team Defra, Area 3C Nobel House 17 Smith Square London SW1P 3JR $A Applications for reappointment should be sent well in advance of the expiry date of an appointment to allow adequate time for processing. We recommend applying at least 8 months before expiry. Reference documents for applicants include:

  3. Added information note explaining decision not to make further changes reservoir safety regulatory regime.

  4. Replaced Local Authority Model Land Drainage Byelaws and Internal Drainage Board Model Land Drainage Byelaws documents.

  5. Updated Guidance to Applicants for appointment and reappointments to include the annexes.

  6. Replaced guidance document for applicants for appointments/reappointments to reservoir engineers panel.

  7. First published.

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