Q&As

Is the local authority—as Lead Local Flood Authority—under an obligation to maintain flood defence structures if carried out on private land?

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Produced in partnership with Denis Edwards of Normanton Chambers
Published on LexisPSL on 18/03/2020

The following Environment Q&A produced in partnership with Denis Edwards of Normanton Chambers provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Is the local authority—as Lead Local Flood Authority—under an obligation to maintain flood defence structures if carried out on private land?

Is the local authority—as Lead Local Flood Authority—under an obligation to maintain flood defence structures if carried out on private land?

The local authority is under no legal obligation to maintain flood defence structures on private land.

Responsibility for flood defences in England is split between a number of authorities. First, section 22(1) of the Water Resources Act 1991 (WRA 1991) creates functions for the Environment Agency (EA) in relation to flood defences. These functions include those conferred on the EA by section 6(4) of the Environment Act 1995 to supervise flood defences in England and Wales.

As regards maritime flood defences, the EA shares responsibility for coastal flood defences with local authorities which have a maritime boundary. This matter is governed by the Coast Protection Act 1949.

In relation to river flood defences, the Land Drainage Act 1991 (LDA 1991) provides that the EA is the

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