The report was introduced by the Flood and Water Management Officer and was submitted to inform and consult the Sustainable Growth and Environment Capital Scrutiny Committee about the draft Peterborough Flood Risk Management Strategy before it was to be presented to Cabinet on 22 September 2014. Members were informed of the key areas of focus within the strategy:
· Understanding the City Council’s responsibilities (Chapter 1)
· Understanding the most significant flood risks in Peterborough (Chapter 7)
· The need for all flood and water management organisations to financially contribute to schemes in order to unlock any Government funding (Chapter 9)
· The range and type of actions to be delivered and the costs of these (Chapter 10 and appendix F)
The Strategy was a ten year partnership strategy with a review after six years. The action plan also covered ten years but would be reviewed annually to monitor progress. The Flood and Water Management Officer informed Members that she had received an email from the Environment Agency stating their commitment in supporting the FMS.
The Chair congratulated the Flood and Water Management Officer on the presentation and the development of a comprehensive strategy.
Questions and observations were made around the following areas:
· Members referred to page 38, “Who to Contact Quick Reference Guide” and stated that during the last major flood event there had been difficulty in getting through to anyone at the council between 4:30pm on a Friday and 8:00am on a Monday. The Flood and Water Management Officer stated that the council did have an out-of-hours service and depending on the query it would go through to a duty emergency planning manager. The officer advised that she would look into the issue.
· Members referred to page 48, paragraph 7.2.3 of the document which stated “In the past flooding has been described using yearly return periods leading people to believe that a 1 in 100 flood will only happen once every 100 years. Unfortunately this is incorrect as the risk is a 1 in 100 chance of the event happening every year. It could happen twice in a year, in the same way that you could potentially have two wins on the lottery in a year.” Members felt that this statement did not add anything to the report. The Flood and Water Management Officer advised that she would reword the paragraph to help understanding.
· Members referred to page 77 and sought further clarification regarding the table detailing wards that were expected to be most susceptible to the flood risk implications of climate change. The Flood and Water Management Officer stated that this was an overall result based on the potential future impacts of flooding on receptors and was designed to measure change in wards where climate change could play a significant factor.
· Members commented that Werrington had been designed to reduce flood risk but the table rated Werrington as High. The Flood and Water Management Officer responded that the information was based on the surface water flood risk map and came from the Environment Agency’s assessment and this would be further examined.
· Members asked if the strategy was part of the major policy framework and would go to Full Council for approval. The Flood and Water Management Officer stated that it was not currently a part of the major policy framework but it was a statutory requirement.
· Members suggested that the strategy become part of the major policy framework.
· Members commented that the action plan did not mention or refer to other current policies which flooding may have an impact on e.g. Trees and Woodlands Policy, Green Infrastructure Policy. Members felt that the action plan could go further to link in with other policies.
· Members asked what the take-up was on nominations for flood wardens. The Flood and Water Management Officer responded that four new flood wardens had been gained in recent years. Further engagement with Parish Councilswas planned
· Members stated that there was a danger when there was heavy rainfall that the combined sewage system would become overloaded. How often was this water released into the river in the event of an overflow? The Flood and Water Management Officer stated that this was referred to as a combined sewer overflow. Peterborough had several combined sewers which took both foul water and surface water from rainfall. Combined sewer overflows were constructed to release the pressure, prevent flooding to houses and released the diluted water into the river. It did happen and Anglian Water held the information on how often this happened. This was monitored by the Environment Agency.
The Chair proposed that the Committee recommend to Cabinet that they recommend to Council that the Peterborough Flood Risk Management Strategy be added to the Major Policy Framework. A vote was taken and the Committee unanimously agreed.
The Committee congratulated the Flood and Water Management Officer for producing a comprehensive and detailed strategy.
The Committee recommend that Cabinet recommend to Council that the Peterborough Flood Risk Management Strategy be added to the Major Policy Framework and that the Constitution be amended accordingly.