Flood risk management

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Cambridgeshire County Council is a Lead Local Flood Authority (under the Flood and Water Management Act 2010) and has the responsibility to manage the following types of flooding:

  • surface water flooding - includes internal property flooding from rain runoff from surfaces such as roads, roofs and patios. For more information refer to the Environment Agency's interactive surface water map.
  • ordinary watercourses - includes flooding from drains and ditches, but excludes main rivers that are managed by the Environment Agency. A map of the main rivers is available on the Environment Agency's website.
  • groundwater flooding - includes flooding caused by heavy and continuous rain capable of increasing the groundwater levels.

Our main responsibilities as a flood authority include:

  • investigating and reporting on significant flood events in the county, that are mostly related to internal property flooding
  • establishing and maintaining a register for all significant flood risk assets in the county
  • producing a Local Flood Risk Management Strategy to manage surface water, ordinary watercourses and groundwater flooding in partnership with other risk management authorities in the county.
  • ensuring that new developments are designed and built in a sustainable manner which does not increase surface water flood risk and reduces flood risk whenever possible.
  • consenting new work which affects the flow of ordinary watercourses. If you are unsure what construction work requires consent or to apply for consent, please go to our watercourse management webpage.
  • the power to request information relating to flooding from any organisation or individual.
  • the power to label significant flood risk assets or features, formally recording the feature as a land charge so that it cannot be removed without permission from the County Council and can continue to protect people and properties from flooding.
  • the power to enforce corrective works on unapproved construction work within ordinary watercourses or those not undertaking their landowner (riparian) responsibilities

Who is responsible?

Flooding can occur for several reasons and different organisations are responsible for flooding in different situations. The following outlines who is responsible for the different types of flooding.

Cambridgeshire County Council

We are responsible for highway drains.

Landowners/ Property owners

The landowner/ property owner is responsible for ditches and watercourses and piped watercourses and culverts. 

Water company – Anglian Water

The water company is responsible for public surface water sewers and foul sewers (Anglian Water website).

Environment Agency

The Environment Agency is responsible for critical watercourses and main rivers and for emergency response.

Internal Drainage Boards (IDBs)

IDBs are responsible for maintaining the land drains that channel away excess water from farmland. They are also responsible for managing water levels in low lying areas like the Fens.