Flood Risk Regulations 2009 and the Flood and Water Management Act 2010 (FWMA)

The Government introduced the Flood Risk Regulations 2009 and the Flood and Water Management Act 2010 (FWMA). These statutes place new duties and responsibilities on Bolton Council as the Lead Local Flood Authority in the area, to manage the risk of surface water flooding and flooding from minor watercourses.

Flooding in this case is defined as “where land that is not normally covered in water becomes covered in water”.  This can be due to heavy rainfall, a river overflowing, groundwater or a combination of these. It does not mean a flood caused by blockage of a sewer or from a burst water main, but does include where sewer overflow is due to heavy rainfall.

In addition to the above flood risk management functions, the authority has:

  • A duty under the FWMA to investigate any significant flood incidents caused by rainfall.
  • As Planning Authority to implement land use planning and work with communities to avoid inappropriate development in areas of flood risk, being careful to manage land elsewhere to avoid increasing flood risk and to maximise opportunities for sustainable development.
  • As an emergency planning authority, to warn and advise the public during emergencies and manage flood recovery.
  • As Highway Authority providing and managing highway drainage and roadside ditches under the Highway Act.

The Flood Risk Regulations 2009 introduce a requirement to prepare and publish certain maps and plans relating to the management of flood risk. The first of these is a Preliminary Flood Risk Assessment report for the Bolton area.

The Council is committed to implementing a programme of:

  • Inspections, data collection and mapping of all flood defences and flood defence features.
  • Ensuring watercourses are free from blockages.
  • Inspecting and ensuring debris screens are maintained and operate efficiently.
  • Ensuring that appropriate maintenance, following best value guidelines, is carried out on the flood defences and channels which we own, or for which we accept responsibility, so that they operate efficiently. Where the responsibility for maintenance rests with a landowner, we will aim to secure appropriate maintenance through co-operation and encouragement or, if necessary, by drawing on enforcement powers.

The Drainage Team ensures that through inspection and monitoring of the flood defences and culverts in the area they are maintained to an adequate standard complying with the above aims. There are around 400 miles of watercourses and rivers in the Bolton area, of these, around 80 miles of watercourses and 12 miles of main rivers are in underground pipes. In addition, Bolton Council manages around 105 miles of highway drains and approximately 57,000 highway gullies.

We are currently developing a local strategy of how, as a community, we will approach flood risk management in Bolton.

From 6th April 2012, you now require legal consent in writing from Bolton Council to construct or alter a culvert, or construct or alter any feature that could cause an obstruction to the flow of water in a watercourse.  If you are proposing to undertake any works in a watercourse, or are aware of such works being undertaken, please go to the Land Drainage consent webpage.

The Environment Agency continues its role in managing flood risk from main rivers and reservoirs. There are around 72 miles of waterways classed as main rivers in Bolton and 12 major reservoirs that could affect Bolton. Maps showing flood risk from rivers and reservoirs are shown on the Environment Agency website.

Surface Water Flooding Facts

Surface water flooding is often caused by the run-off of water from land, property or highway during heavy rain.  Occasionally it is caused by public sewers or drains overflowing when they are overwhelmed by very heavy rainfall. Recent studies have identified that there are many properties in Bolton that could potentially be affected by surface water flooding in extremely heavy rainfall. Details of which areas are potentially at risk from surface water flooding are shown on the Environment Agency website.

If you experience flooding due to surface water this should be reported to Bolton Council

River Flooding Facts

The flooding of properties from rivers is not a common occurrence in the Bolton area. However, according to Environment Agency data there are approximately 900 properties in the Bolton area that have a 1% probability (or a 1 in 100 chance) of suffering the effects of river flooding in any individual year. Most of these sites of potential flooding are near to what is called a "main river" and maintenance of stretches of "main rivers" is undertaken by the Environment Agency. Details of which areas are prone to flooding and the location of flood plains are shown on the Environment Agency website.

If you experience flooding from a main river this should be reported to the Environment Agency on their flooding hotline 0845 988 1188

Sewer Flooding

Occasionally heavy rainfall can overwhelm the capacity of sewers or a blockage occurs that results in flooding from sewers. More advice on sewers is available on our property drainage webpage.

If you experience flooding from a sewer this should be reported to United Utilities on 0845 7462200.

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Drainage Team

Floor 4

The Wellsprings

Victoria Square



Telephone 01204 336677
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