THE launch of the Environment Agency’s consultation on it's flood strategy this week is a timely reminder that those at risk, particularly in rural areas, should take proactive steps to protect themselves.

This is according to advice issued by Simeon Disley, partner at Roythornes Solicitors and head of the firm’s water and flood management team.

He advises that landowners should look to take control of their own flood protection as government planning will certainly prioritise areas with higher populations.

There will be competition between towns and communities seeking public funding in order to improve flood defences. Therefore Mr Disley advises that landowners in less populated areas must step forward to make their case for the protection of their areas.

Neighbours also need to collaborate. Flood water has no respect for farm boundaries and those who share a risk in an area should come together to present a combined plan and case for their protection, he advises.

Accordingly, landowners may also need to contribute to the cost of their flood protection as it is not realistic to expect public funds to pay for the entire defence system. Those who are prepared to contribute in kind or in cash will add value to their proposals and be more likely to get public support.

By improving flood defences through partnerships between landowners and internal drainage boards, great efficiencies can be achieved. The value for each pound spent can be more than doubled when compared to the standard public procurement methods.

The future will therefore be about demonstrating the importance of the land you are trying to protect and the value for money for the country as a whole, he says. Landowners should start preparing their best possible cases now ready for the conclusion of the consultation in eight weeks’ time.

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