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Enforcement

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 approach.

 

What enforcement powers does the Council have?

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 powers?

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 enforcement?

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 drained.

 

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.

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This website provides information on the services delivered by Bedford Borough Council.

 


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