The aim of using enforcement
action is to:
- Ensure the proper flow of water in
a watercourse and over the floodplain
- To control water levels and
the security of existing assets.
Enforcement action may be used by a
regulating body to rectify any unlawful, damaging or potentially
damaging work, this is decisded using a risk based
What enforcement powers does the
Bedford Borough Council has powers
under Sections 23, 24 and 25 of the Land
Drainage Act (1991) with regard to the issuing of consents,
enforcement against un-consented works and general enforcement of
riparian owner duties. These powers are permissive,
meaning that it remains the decision of the authority as to whether
it enforces or not.
When does the Council use these
If a watercourse or feature is in
need of maintenance, the council encourages the person that
owns it to take remedial action.
If a riparian owner fails to carry
out maintenance on a watercourse or feature the Council can
use it's powers under the Land Drainage Act (1991) to serve notice
requiring them to undertake the necessary works. Failure to comply
with such a notice may result in the Council undertaking the work
and recharging the owner with the costs.
What are permissive powers?
This means that we may choose to
intervene in the public interest where we believe works would be
beneficial and/or economically viable, but we are under no legal
obligation to do so.
Who else has powers of
a) The Environment Agency and IDB
also have permissive powers under the Land
Drainage Act (1991) to undertake works in watercourses and
regulate the activities of riparian owners.
b) As the Highways Authority,
Bedford Borough Council also has powers under the Highways Act
(1980) to ensure the public highway is effectively
c) Anglian Water have some powers
under the Water
Industry Act (1991) to ensure their assets are performing and
do not pose a threat to flooding.
A table outlining the different
authorities responsibilities and powers to manage flood risk
in the Borough can be found here.