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How we manage flood risk

flood photoDifferent types of flood risk are managed by different organisations known as Risk Management Authorities and include Medway Council, the Environment Agency, Southern Water, Highways Authority and Lower Medway Internal Drainage Board.

Additionally, landowners, householders and businesses also have a responsibility for managing flood risk.

Medway Council


The Flood Risk Regulations 2009 created Lead Local Flood Authorities (LLFA)'s at County and Unitary level, therefore Medway Council is a designated Lead Local Flood Authority.

The Flood and Water Management Act 2010 assigns and further extends our roles and responsibilities associated with managing local flood risk.

Local flood risk is defined as flooding from surface water, groundwater and ordinary watercourses.

How we work with other organisations to manage local flooding in Medway is set out in our Local Flood Risk Management Strategy.

Environment Agency

The Environment Agency (EA) has a strategic overview of all sources of flooding and coastal erosion.  It is responsible for flood and coastal erosion risk management activities on main rivers and the coast, regulating reservoir safety and working in partnership with the Met Office to provide forecasts and warnings.

It also looks for opportunities to maintain and improve the environment for people and wildlife while carrying out its duties.

The EA manages flood risk from the sea and main rivers (main rivers are identified on the Environment Agency Flood Map). It also provides flood warnings and advice on preparing for a flood as well as what to do after a flood.

The EA have produced a National Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management Strategy as well as plans which are specific to Medway: 

Medway Estuary and Swale Shoreline Management Plan.

Catchment Flood Management Plans

Sewerage undertakers and water supply companies

Flooding caused by public sewers and fresh water pipes is the responsibility of the relevant sewerage undertaker or water supply company.  In Medway, flooding from public sewers or fresh water pipes should be reported to Southern Water.

Southern Water - phone 0845 270 1508

Highways Authority

Medway Council act as the Highway Authority and have the lead responsibility for providing and managing highway drainage and roadside ditches under the Highways Act 1980.  The owners of land adjoining a highway also have a common law duty to maintain ditches.

Lower Medway Internal Drainage Board

The Lower Medway Internal Drainage Board is a local public body. Internal Drainage Boards are established in areas of special drainage need. They have powers to manage flood risk and maintain water levels on behalf of their community and they manage all watercourses within their administrative boundary except for main rivers which are managed by the Environment Agency or riparian owner.

Landowners, householders and businesses

Landowners who manage land adjoining a main river or ordinary watercourse are known as ‘riparian owners’ and have a special legal duty for keeping it clear of obstructions that could cause flooding. Riparian owners should also ensure that the banks of the watercourse are maintained. 

More information on the rights and responsibilities of a riparian owner can be found in an Environment Agency publication ‘Living on the Edge’.

Householders have a responsibility to make themselves aware of flood risks they may face so that they are able to take steps to protect themselves from flooding.  Find out whether you are at risk of flooding and what you can do to prepare your property.

Householders should be aware that paving areas that were previously impermeable may increase surface water runoff and lead to local drainage issues.  Planning permission may be required for any paving works greater than 5m2.  More information is available about paving your front garden on the Planning Portal.

Householders and businesses should also keep fat, oils, and other unsuitable items out of drains and sewers as these cause major blockages that can result in sewer flooding.  More information is available about how to report flooding from sewers, and what shouldn’t be put down drains.