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County council increases work to reduce flood risk in Staffordshire

Work to reduce flood risk to Staffordshire communities which is being led by the county council is increasing and making a difference, a report published this week says.

Flood risk blights communities and can damage the local economy. The county council is working with a range of organisations including the Environment Agency, district councils and Severn Trent Water to help manage flood risks in Staffordshire. As part of this a number of local flood alleviation schemes have already been delivered across the county. More schemes are being supported by a further £2.7million of external funding up to 2021.

The county council is also supporting the Environment Agency to deliver large and complex flood protection schemes in Rugeley and Burton. In addition, a number of flood action groups have been set up. These are benefiting from a community grant system to support local communities to deliver small scale flood alleviation works in their area.

The county council now has a greater role in the planning process, giving advice on where development would be at greater flood risk and on sustainable drainage systems (SUDS). Typical SUDS include rainwater harvesting, permeable paving and ponds. In 2016/17 the county council responded to 520 major planning applications in Staffordshire and 375 non major planning applications. The Environment Agency estimates that for every £1 spent influencing planning applications, there are £10 of flood damages avoided.

Staffordshire County Council’s cabinet support member for flood risk management said:

The role of the county council in minimising flood risk has increased in recent years and it is now using its expertise to support other authorities. This is a hugely significant issue as communities can be blighted by flood risk and the local economy hit hard. While we are leading on work to reduce flood risk from smaller watercourses and overland run-off, we are working with the Environment Agency to manage flooding from rivers on larger schemes, such as in Rugeley and Burton. We have also implemented a number of local flood schemes across the county after successfully winning external funding and are having greater influence on planned development. We have made great progress in recent years and we will now look to build on this to give communities greater peace of mind in coming years.”

The flood risk management progress report will be discussed by the Prosperous Staffordshire Select Committee on Tuesday October 10.