A Somerset Flood Action Plan meeting today (20 June, 2014) agreed to put proposals for a Somerset Rivers Authority to Secretary of State for the Environment Owen Paterson.
A Somerset Rivers Authority (SRA) would be a way for local partners to take more responsibility for flood risk and water management across the county. Options under review include organisational structures, legislative requirements, and funding models. Proposals being considered include an appropriate catchment-wide funding mechanism to generate additional funds.
Today’s meeting of the Leaders Implementation Group, which includes representatives from all of the agencies involved in delivering the Flood Action Plan, agreed that proposals needed to be brought forward with some urgency. The intention is that initial proposals should be available for discussion with the Secretary of State at Defra on his next visit to Somerset, which is expected to be soon.
Once firm proposals have been agreed, next steps would include consultation and engagement.
Cllr John Osman, Chair of the Group and Leader of Somerset County Council, said: “We are determined to continue to drive progress in taking forward the Flood Action Plan. Somerset Rivers Authority can play a key role as part of this comprehensive programme.”
The SRA is being developed as part of Somerset’s 20 Year Flood Action Plan, which is being delivered by a range of agencies co-ordinated by Somerset County Council.
Note: Mr Paterson left his position as Environment Secretary on 15 July, 2014. He was replaced by Liz Truss MP.