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Other Flood Authorities - Who does what?

Who does what?

There are a number of additional roles which have been identified by the Flood and Water Management Act (2010) as having an influence over how flood risk is managed and have a duty to co-operate with each other and to share data, the responsibilities of these organisations are set out below.



Defra (the Depatrment of Environmental, Rood and Rural Affairs) has overall national responsibility for policy on flood and coastal erosion risk management, and provides funding for flood risk management authorities through flood defence grants. It does not build or manage flood or coastal erosion defences and does not direct any authorities on which specific projects should be undertaken.


The Environment Agency The Environment Agency badge

The Environment  Agency plays sets the national strategy for Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management and provides support and guidance to local authorities. 


The Agency has a duty and powers to manage flood risk from main rivers, resevoirs and the sea. Main Rivers are those shown on the flood map, in Bedford Borough this includes the River Great Ouse, as well as sections of the River Til, the River Nene, Pertenhall Brook and Riseley Brook in the northern part of the Borough. Flooding from a main river should be reported to the Environment Agency.


The Environment Agency website allows you to find out about the risk of flooding in your area and provides up to date flood warning and advice on how to protect your home or business from flooding by following simple steps. Check to see if your property is in a flood risk area and/or sign up to receive FREE flood warnings at  www.environment-agency.gov.uk/flood.


The Regional Flood and Coastal Committee (RFCC)

Regional Flood and Coastal Committees (RFCCs) were established by the Flood and Water Management Act (2010). These are split up into regional areas based on river catchments. The 'Anglian (Central) RFCC’ is responsible for Bedford Borough, which falls into the Upper Great Ouse River catchment ( see map).


RFCCs approve the annual programme of flood defence work in their region and set the local levy. The Committees are made up of a Chairman appointed by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), members appointed by the Environment Agency and members appointed by local authorities. All meetings are open to the public. If you would like to know more, visit the Environment Agency's Regional Committees Website or see this guidance note produced by Defra.


Internal Drainage Boards

Bedford IDB

Part of the Borough is covered by The Bedford Group of Internal Drainage Boards (IDB) which provides local storm water management through ordinary watercourse maintenance and improvement.


The IDB is responsible for the management of ordinary watercourses within their admin area (known as the Internal Drianage District), this includes issuing consents for work.  To find out if a watercourse is under the IDBs jurisdiction, click here to navigate to the IDBs interactive map


Water CompaniesAnglian Water badge

Anglian Water is responsible for the public sewerage system, which is made up of a network of sewers and drains.  Flooding from the public sewer can occur from foul or surface water, this happens when sewers become blocked or damaged  or when large amounts of rainwater cause the sewers to overflow.


Further information on Anglian Water's responsibilities and practical advice on how best to respond to waste water flooding can be found on their Waste Water Flooding Advice page


The Local Highways Authority Highways vehicle

As the Local Highways Authority it is the responsibility of the Borough Council to react to reports of flooding on public highways and footpaths within the Borough (excluding motorways and trunk roads which are the responsibility of the Highways Agency). It is not necessarily their responsibility to prevent recurrence, however the Local Highway Authority do maintain the roads, drains and gullies to ensure that they are performing effectively. 


You can contact the council's Highways Helpdesk on tel: 01234 718003 / https://highwaysreporting.bedford.gov.uk/. If there is a problem with the motorways please call the Highways Agency's 24 hour report line on tel: 0300 123 5000.


Riparian OwnersRiparian Owner

If your property is adjacent to a watercourse of any description, or this passes through or under your property, you are a 'Riparian Owner'. As a riparian owner you should be maintaining your waterways regularly and keeping vegetation and obstacles that may restrict the flow of the water clear from the bed and banks. The best time of year to undertake major clearance works is in late September/October, if repairs are required you are likely to need consent.  


For more information

  • To view a map displaying the different organisations areas of responsibility click here.
  • A table of full drainage responsibilities for the Borough can be found here.


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