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As a Lead Local Flood Authority, Southampton City Council have a duty to investigate flood events that occur within the city boundary.

In line with Section 19 of the Flood and Water Management Act 2010, 'on becoming aware of a flood in its area, a Lead Local Flood Authority must, to the extent that it considers it necessary or appropriate, investigate:

  1. Which risk management authorities have relevant flood risk management functions; and
  2. Whether each of those risk management authorities has exercised or is proposing to exercise, those functions in response to the flood’

Please be aware that it is not the responsibility of the Investigating Officer to resolve the flooding, however where necessary and appropriate, we may investigate the cause and notify any relevant Risk Management Authority or individual required.

When we will conduct an investigation

Upon learning of a flood event within Southampton, the council will consider whether an investigation should be carried out under Section 19 of the Flood and Water Management Act. The results of these investigations will be published and made available for public viewing.

A Section 19 investigation will be conducted if the following criteria is met:

  • A flooding incident that has caused a risk to or loss of life
  • Internal flooding to five or more residential properties in one location during a single flood event
  • Internal flooding to 15 residential properties across the city during a single flood event
  • Internal flooding to three or more commercial properties in one location during a single flood event
  • Recurring internal flooding to a single residential property on two or more occasions
  • Significant flooding to critical infrastructure including motorways, ‘A’ roads, railways and railway stations, port facilities, electricity sub-stations and switching centres, power generating facilities, oil refineries, bridges, flood defences, water treatment works, etc

We do understand that not all flooding events will meet the threshold for a Section 19 Flood Investigation but still do cause an impact to people, travel and property.

The Flood Risk Management team will take a risk based approach to carry out a desk based study to investigate smaller flooding incidents (depending on the capacity of the team) in particular if a property has been impacted.

The following criteria sets out thresholds for when our team may initiate a desk based study:

  • A flood event that affects one or more residential properties internally during a single flood event
  • Flooding on a highway that restricts access to one or more properties for more than three hours
  • Recurring flooding (three or more reports on separate occasions) to a highway or external area of a property (e.g. garden)
  • Disruption to a strategic transport route for any period of time.

If a significant widespread flood event occurs in the city, or a number of incidents that meet the threshold for a desk based study or Section 19 investigation occur simultaneously, investigations will be undertaken on a priority basis.

It should be noted that an investigation will not be carried out for smaller flood events e.g. water ponding on small sections of highway or public space, flooding to the external area of a property or an event that causes little to no disruption or damage.

Role of the responding Flood Risk Officer

The responding Flood Risk Officer is not an emergency responder and it is not their responsibility to directly solve the issue presented by the resident. A Flood Risk Officer is tasked with inspecting the situation, collecting evidence and building a case to ensure that relevant organisations or individuals are aware of their responsibilities and take the appropriate action to reduce further flooding.