Cotswold District Council is reminding land owners of their crucial role in helping to protect communities from flooding.

In July 2007, more than 1000 Cotswold households were flooded, and since then, Cotswold District Council has been working with partner agencies to help reduce flood risk.

A recent report from the Environment Agency suggests the likelihood of increased potential for flooding as a result of climate change. The report also highlights the actions needed by the Government, Local Authorities, Communities and individuals to reduce this risk.

Barry Gibbs, CDC’s portfolio holder for Housing and Communities, emphasised: “We are working with agencies such as Gloucestershire County Council Highways Dept and the Environment Agency to undertake many projects across the District to help increase protection from flooding, but we also need landowners to play their part and fulfil their Riparian Ownership duties.

“We need to make sure that the drainage system works as it is meant to, as well as investing in the large scales projects that are underway.”

A Riparian Owner is anyone who owns a piece of land that has a watercourse running through, or even next to it – and as a Riparian Owner you have legal obligation to keep it clear of obstruction, litter and debris.

And Cotswold District Council has recently adopted a countywide protocol for dealing with complaints about blocked watercourses.

Tim Dowan, the Council’s resilience officer added: “I deal with many complaints, and work with a variety of land owners, from individual residents to large landowners and estate managers.

“In some cases people are not clear about their responsibilities, in others some are reluctant to meet the costs of clearing their ditches, but on the whole people do get on and complete the work which has achieved some very positive results.”

Tim added: “Local communities play a critical role in helping to protect themselves from flooding – The Council has provided in the region of £100,000 worth of grants to Town and Parish Councils to undertake a wide range of resilience and flood protection projects – including funding equipment for community volunteers to clear watercourses and flood warden schemes.”

There are two documents available for land owners to clarify their responsibilities as Riparian Owners;

Waterside Living in Gloucestershire – this has been distributed to all Town and Parish Councils in the District, and limited supplies are also available from Cotswold District Council.

Living on the Edge – an Environment Agency –

Source: Cotswold District Council