After flooding in 2007 the government commissioned a review, which recommended that "Local authorities should lead on the management of local flood risk, with the support of the relevant organisations", (The Pitt Review, 2008). This led to the Flood and Water Management Act (2010).
Cumbria County Council is now a Lead Local Flood Authority (LLFA) and has new powers and duties for managing flooding from local sources, namely Ordinary Watercourses, surface water (overland runoff) and groundwater in the administrative area of Cumbria.
The Environment Agency is responsible for managing the risk of flooding from the sea and main rivers, and also for regulating the safety of reservoirs. Where there is an interface between the sea and main rivers with local flood risk sources (for example, tide locking) it is the responsibility of the lead local flood authority to consider the impacts and consequences.
The Act gives County Councils a new leadership role in local flood risk management. They have become the lead local flood authority, with responsibility for developing, maintaining and applying a local flood risk strategy. This clarifies who is responsible for local flood risk and enables effective partnerships to be formed between the lead local flood authority and the other relevant authorities.
Responsibilities for the Environment Agency and lead local flood authorities
Lead local flood authorities will also be required to:
develop, maintain and apply a local flood risk strategy;
approve drainage systems for construction work, in their capacity as SuDS Approving Bodies (SABs), and adopt and maintain SuDS; and
co-operate with other FCERM authorities, for example through building partnerships and ensuring effective multi-agency working.