FRMPs are strategic plans that set out how to manage flood risk in nationally identified flood risk areas (FRAs) for the period 2021-2027, and are statutory plans required by the Flood Risk Regulations 2009.
There are 10 draft FRMPs, one for each river basin district:
The Environment Agency have worked together with Lead Local Flood Authorities (LLFAs) and other Risk Management Authorities (RMAs) to produce draft Flood Risk Management Plans (FRMPs) for public consultation. Public consultation on the draft FRMPs ran from 22 October 2021 to 21 January 2022, and Solent Protection Society’s response is shown below:
Response by Solent Protection Society to the FRMP
The Environment Agency (EA) have produced a draft Flood Risk Management Plan (FRMP) for the period 2021 – 2027. They have invited responses from interested parties, local agencies and flood authorities, including Water Companies, Local planning Authorities and River Authorities.
Solent Protection Society have prepared and submitted a written response. An acknowledgement of that response has been received from the EA.
Outline of the FRMPs 2021 – 2027
The EA FRMP report has been produced in parallel with the Department of Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) Investment Plan 2021 to 2027 for flood and coastal erosion risk management. The EA report is divided into a Draft Plan A, Overview, and then divided into areas of the country, Annex C. There are 10 draft FRMPs, one for each river basin district and we are obviously interested in the South East. The reports are based on the Flood Risk Management Regulations 2009 (FRR)
The FRMP will help to inform and drive existing programmes of work, including risk management schemes and work with local Agencies and the community. The plans will explore wider resilience measures, identifying innovative management plans, including nature based solutions and remodelling of river basins and sediment. The plans include hydraulic modelling and mapping, based on historical flood records. The risks from Climate change is recognised but not modelled in these documents. Surface Water management plays a significant role and that Sewage Companies need to have effective drainage and management plans in place.
Response to the FRMP
The document is somewhat confusing, it is difficult to disseminate the key elements from suggestions within the many headings in the document and it does repeat itself by inclusion in other headings. The document does not expand on current identified problems in the Solent Region and hence it is a series of Identifying Actions and proposals for closer partnering with other agencies involved in the flood risk areas. It does identify the significance of improved management and outlines the need for justifying Capital expenditure.
Key Performance Indicators
They identify 10 Key Performance Indicators, that will track the programme outcomes
- Better protection for properties
- Better protection for agriculture
- Creation/improvement of natural habitats
- Identify value of capital expenditure
- Partnership funding
- Progress of major projects
- Identify programme risks
- Progress to flood risk reduction of 11%
- Value of flood defence expenditure
- Number of environmental agencies assets at target condition.
These points are fairly fundamental and do not necessary inspire the uninitiated.
Partnering, nature based solutions and Risk management
The FRMP further identifies the need to bring partners together and to identify innovative solutions and most importantly nature based solutions, thereby reducing harm to the environment. It builds on The Governments Green Future Natural Plan and how we should manage the environment in the future. In all respects it identifies that identifying the risk is the key to environmental protection, reducing harm to the community and business.
The importance of climate change
As stated,The FRMP identifies Climate change but does not go into any detail or suggest models to be viewed alongside the risk assessments. SPS believe that more weight should be given to climate change prediction. The report outlines that Surface water is difficult to predict and it will be the EA who take the strategic role to manage the known flood risk areas (FRA)
It emphasises that flooding is subject to the law based strategic planning and this is particularly relevant to the local agencies. (SPS does wonder what the EA have been doing over the last 20 years, in applying the law to those who have contributed to, or have not identified flood risk, and especially caused pollution)
Funding for existing and new Schemes
It is clear that not all of the identified risk areas, together with proposals, have received funding. It will be difficult to assess what funding will be available for the South East, and particularly the Solent region.
New mapping and flood identification
The EA have a flood warning service which goes to an individual area by post code. They are also Liaoning with the Met Office on computerised rainfall hydraulic maps and warnings, which will be available for land owners, farmers and flood partner agencies. The revised mapping service will be invaluable for forward planning.
The community groups
River management and maintenance, including culverts, reservoirs and pumping stations, sustainable drainage, are all be subject to Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) and local environmental community groups. They emphasise that the EA will be working with the community.
The FRMP is a lengthy document, which often states the obvious, and it is difficult to disseminate the actual basic actions. It is, however, a summary of the intentions of the EA, and its agencies, to establish a risk based management of flooding over the next 5 years.