Flood investigations

As the lead local flood authority (LLFA) for Buckinghamshire, we have a statutory duty to investigate flooding incidents.

We investigate significant flood events that meet certain criteria, and publish flood investigation (Section 19) reports. Criteria include:

  • internal flooding (including to basements) to 5 or more residential properties within an area of 1km2
  • internal flooding of 2 or more business premises within an area of 1km2
  • internal flooding (including to basements) of at least 1 property for 1 week or longer
  • flooding of 1 or more critical infrastructure assets, which could include hospitals, health centres, clinics, surgeries, colleges, schools, day nurseries, nursing homes, emergency services (police, fire, ambulance), stations, utilities and substations

Any flooding event that a risk management authority deems significant but does not meet the agreed thresholds should be assessed at the next strategic flood management group for consideration.

What the investigation will cover

The investigation will cover:

  • an overview of the flooding incident and its impact on the drainage infrastructure in the wider catchment
  • any history of flooding
  • a rainfall analysis
  • the roles and responsibilities of all involved

The report will also highlight a series of recommendations for all those involved, including residents and businesses.

The investigation will aim to:

  • describe the flood incident and aim to determine any contributing factors
  • identify which authorities, communities and individuals have relevant flood risk management powers and responsibilities
  • provide high-level recommendations for each of those authorities, communities and individuals
  • outline whether those authorities, communities or individuals have or will exercise their powers or responsibilities in response to the flooding incident

What the investigation will not do

The investigation will not:

  • resolve the flooding issues or provide designed solutions
  • provide an action plan or strategy for specific actions
  • force risk management authorities (the Environment Agency, the LLFA, the relevant water company and highways authorities) to undertake any of the recommended actions
  • investigate incidents of structural dampness or where basements are affected by groundwater entering through cracks in the basement walls or floors

In the event that the cause of, and the responsibility for addressing the flooding is well understood, it is unlikely that a formal investigation will be undertaken by the council.

Actions that might be taken following an investigation

It is not within the remit of any Section 19 flood investigation to provide designed solutions.

The process does not provide the council, nor any other organisation, with the funding or mandate to undertake works on the ground. The intention is instead to provide a clear understanding of the issues.

It will be for the relevant responsible body or persons to assess the recommendations within the Section 19 report in terms of:

  • their legal obligation
  • resource implications
  • priority
  • the costs and benefits of undertaking such options

Flood investigation reports