3 Consultation and co-ordination
3.1 Roles and responsibilities for surface water (drainage and flooding)
The governance of surface water is complex, with different legislation and different authorities responsible for different parts of the drainage system. The main authorities and processes governing surface water in our urban areas are set out in this section. They represent the key stakeholders to be consulted throughout the surface water management planning process.
The main processes governing surface water management (drainage and flooding) in our urban areas are Scottish Water’s management of the sewer network, local authority management of the road network and local authority management of surface water flooding. For new development the local authority-led land use planning system requires drainage and flooding to be taken into account and there are three different surface water infrastructure vesting processes that must be considered ( Figure 3.1). Homeowners and landowners also have important responsibilities for managing water on their land.
Figure 3.1 Main surface water management authorities
A summary of the main duties and powers involved in surface water management is given below, with further information provided in Appendix 2. It should be noted that the list below is not exhaustive. The FRM Act places a duty on responsible authorities to adopt an integrated approach to flood risk management by co-operating with each other. As surface water flooding can often be a complex interaction of many sources of flooding (see Section 1.4) and responsibilities can lie with different authorities, the duty to co-operate is therefore particularly important.
Under the FRM Act, local authorities have general powers to manage flood risk (from all sources, including surface water flooding) in their area. This includes implementing actions described in the LFRMPs, flood protection schemes or any other flood protection work. Section 1.4 has further information on the definition of surface water flooding but in general, surface water flooding under the FRM Act is flooding that occurs when the capacity of the sewer (or other drainage system) is exceeded (e.g. by higher than usual rainfall or when the sewer system is affected by high river or sea levels). The definition of surface water flooding under the FRM Act does not include flooding solely from a sewerage system. Under the Sewerage (Scotland) Act 1968), Scottish Water is responsible for managing flooding solely from a sewerage system (that is, sewerage systems that are designed to manage ‘usual’ rainfall events, currently interpreted to mean up to the 1:30 year rainfall event).
Local authorities (as roads authorities) have duties to maintain and manage public roads under the Roads (Scotland) Act 1984. In order to do this, roads authorities have powers to drain roads and, if they construct a drain, a duty to maintain it (including sustainable urban drainage systems). The Roads Act sets out a vesting process for new roads that includes road drainage. It also provides powers to protect roads from flooding.
Scottish Water has duties under the Sewerage (Scotland) Act 1968 to provide and maintain public sewers that can effectively drain surface water from the curtilage of properties under ‘usual’ rainfall events (currently interpreted to mean up to the 1:30 year rainfall event). The definition of flooding under the FRM Act does not include flooding solely from a sewerage system (which falls under Scottish Water duties). The Sewerage (Scotland) Act sets out vesting process for new infrastructure draining the curtilage of properties.
LA (land use planning)
Local authorities (as planning authorities) (and National Park Authorities) have powers to grant or refuse planning applications and flood risk is a material consideration when determining planning applications. Strategic Development Plans and Local Development Plans should set out infrastructure required, including drainage infrastructure. Scottish Planning Policy promotes; a precautionary approach to flood risk from all sources, including surface water flooding and; avoidance of increased surface water flooding through requirements for Sustainable Drainage Systems ( SuDS) and minimising the area of impermeable surface. Infrastructure and buildings should be designed to be free from surface water flooding in rainfall events where the annual probability of occurrence is greater than 0.5% (1:200 years). Surface water drainage measures should have a neutral or better effect on the risk of flooding both on and off the site, taking account of rain falling on the site and run-off from adjacent areas. Planning should protect, enhance and promote green infrastructure, including open space and green networks, as an integral component of successful placemaking. Development plans should be based on a holistic, integrated and cross-sectoral approach to green infrastructure. They should be informed by relevant plans covering green infrastructure’s multiple functions (including flood management). For development management green infrastructure should be treated as an integral element in how the proposal responds to local circumstances, including being well-integrated into the overall design layout and multi-functional.
LA (building standards)
Local authority building standards have duties to ensure that surface water management infrastructure (drainage and flooding) is designed to appropriate standards, where that infrastructure is owned by the land / home owners rather than vested by Scottish Water or a local authority (as roads authority). Section 3.6 of the Building (Scotland) Regulations 2004 sets out the requirements for surface water drainage.
SEPA has responsibilities under the FRM Act to map and assess flood risk (including surface water flood risk), produce FRM Strategies (that take into account surface water flooding), provide a flood warning service and issue flood risk advice to planning authorities and National Park authorities.
Homeowners and landowners have important responsibilities for managing rainfall and surface water on land they own. This is particularly important where authorities are working with homeowners and landowners to reduce run-off from private land. In addition, we are all responsible for protecting ourselves and our property from flooding. This means the public and communities working to help minimise flood damage to their land or property without increasing flood risk elsewhere; if one person’s acts cause flooding to another person’s property it may have common law implications. Members of the public also have an important role in sharing local knowledge and engaging with flood protection activities in their areas.
3.2 Who to consult and why
It is important to consult stakeholders to determine where and when there are opportunities for closer co-ordination or joint working in order to:
- Bring about multiple benefits – actions to manage surface water flooding will be better able to yield multiple benefits, e.g. enhancing the urban landscape, improving the water environment, reducing surface water in the sewer, if work is co-ordinated with relevant authorities.
- Improve cost-effectiveness – carrying out joint projects with multiple benefits may make managing surface water flooding more cost-effective and open up other sources of funding. Some surface water management actions may only become cost-effective when implemented alongside other projects.
As such, consultation should aim to:
- Identify any work being carried out by other stakeholders that could help in managing surface water flooding in a sustainable way (e.g. opportunities for new development to reduce existing surface water flood risk, planned open space or green network development) and;
- Establish whether any stakeholders can co-ordinate their activities with planned surface water flooding actions to bring about multiple benefits (e.g. do any flood management proposals present an opportunity to involve land use planners in order to enhance the urban landscape, or to work with Scottish Water to reduce surface water in the sewers?).
Consultation and co-ordination between main drainage and flooding authorities
As a minimum, the main surface water drainage authorities ( LA roads and Scottish Water), flooding authorities ( LA flooding) and LA land use planners should be consulted throughout the surface water management planning process. This will make it easier to identify where and when any relevant work ( Table 3.1) between the authorities could benefit from closer co-ordination and/or joint working. SEPA can advise on remaining consistent with the FRMP process and any further modelling that might be required.
Consultation and co-ordination between other stakeholders
Other stakeholders may also be implementing work that could potentially help manage surface water flooding, e.g. through the development of ‘green and blue’ networks, watercourse restoration, biodiversity and habitat creation. Examples of other activities and stakeholders to consider include:
- The development of green networks ( LAs, Green Network Partnerships, Greenspace Scotland)
- Open space strategies ( LAs)
- Local Biodiversity Action Plans ( LAs)
- Active travel plans ( LAs)
- Climate Change Adaptation Plans (all authorities)
- River Basin Management Plans ( SEPA)
- Communities and the public
- Other infrastructure/land owners (e.g. Scottish Canals, Transport Scotland, Network Rail, Forest Enterprise, Forestry Commission)
- Emergency planning authorities ( LA emergency planning).
Table 3.1 Examples of relevant work and key data for co-ordination
|Authority||Relevant work that may benefit from co-ordination||Key data to share|
|Local authority (flooding)||
|Local authority (roads)||
|Local authority (land use planning)||
* e.g. LA roads, LA flooding and Scottish Water working together where required to implement infrastructure that manages surface water drainage from roads and curtilage of properties, and surface water flooding (when drainage is exceeded) for all rainfall events up to a 1:200 year rainfall event.
3.3 How to consult
The risk-based approach should be applied to consultation, with the local authority deciding what consultation or partnership arrangements are required. For example, where less co-ordination is required consultation may be relatively informal and information-sharing meetings with stakeholders considered sufficient. In more complex, higher risk areas requiring a greater degree of consultation and co-ordination, more formal partnerships with agreed governance arrangements may be necessary. Existing communication structures should be considered and used where appropriate, e.g. flood risk management Local Plan District Partnerships.
Where closer co-ordination or joint actions would be beneficial, closer working relationships and more formal partnerships between authorities for these joint actions are likely to be required.
Clear and effective communication is vital when working with stakeholders with different areas of expertise. Sharing relevant information about planned activities is crucial to allow stakeholders to identify opportunities for joint working or co-ordination. Providing key information ( Table 3.1) in maps and GIS format will help the process.
3.4 When to consult
Consultation is required throughout the surface water management planning process and should involve a range of stakeholders; different stakeholders may need to be consulted at different stages ( Table 3.2). At the SWMP preparation stage the local authority leading on the SWMP development should consider who to consult as well as what information from the SWMP will be required for consultation. A key consultation stage is the objective-setting phase. At this stage the local authority will have a better understanding of its SWMP objectives and priorities, and therefore of what opportunities for closer co-ordination or joint working there may be. Bear in mind that these priorities may change if the consultation identifies opportunities for co-ordination or joint working.
Table 3.2 Key stages for consultation
|SWMP stage||Consultation: actions and considerations|
|Prepare||Identify stakeholders to consult and when to consult them.
Carry out initial consultation of key stakeholders (e.g. drainage and flooding authorities):
|Understand flood risk||This stage can be consulted on along with consultation on initial objectives. It may be necessary to consult Scottish Water or roads authorities if there are any complex matters, e.g. where sewer networks or roads drainage may influence surface water flooding.|
|Set objectives|| KEY consultation stage to identify where and when there may be opportunities for closer co-ordination or joint working.
|Option appraisal||Close consultation and joint working will be required if any joint actions have been agreed.
If larger scale structural actions are being implemented, land use planning should usually be involved to make sure that actions integrate with and enhance the urban landscape.
Relevant communities may need to be consulted.
|Develop preferred option; confirm funding||Close consultation and joint working will be required if any joint actions have been agreed.
If larger scale structural actions are being implemented, land use planning should usually be involved at the more detailed design stage in particular, to ensure that actions integrate with and enhance the urban landscape.
Any relevant communities may need to be consulted, in particular at a more detailed design stage.
|Finalise and communicate plan||Communicate to key partners the finalised plan, including the confirmed implementation plan and what actions are to be implemented by whom and when. This should include any joint actions that have been agreed or actions that need closer co-ordination.|
|Implement and monitor plan||Consultation may be necessary during the implementation process. Larger-scale structural actions may require community consultation. It may also be useful to share monitoring information and/or highlight any significant changes to the implementation plan.|
|Review and update SWMP||When updating, repeat the plan development stages and carry out the necessary consultation.|
3.5 Other legislative requirements
The authority leading on the surface water management planning process is responsible for determining whether any other legislative requirements apply to the planning process. Legislative requirements may have their own statutory consultation requirements and associated timescales. Because an SWMP is a plan produced by a public body, it is likely to fall within the scope of Strategic Environmental Assessment legislation. Further information can be found on the Scottish Government website.  Also, any plans that are likely to have significant effects on a 'Natura 2000' site will require an assessment under the Habitats Regulations, further information on which can be found on the Scottish Natural Heritage website. 
Other legislative requirements may apply to actions implemented through the SWMP. It is the responsibility of the authority implementing the actions to meet any legislative requirements.
Gordon Robertson: Flooding_Mailbox@gov.scot
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