Flood and coast defence policy


1.1 This policy statement has been prepared by Havant Borough Council to provide a public statement of the Council's approach to flood and coastal defence in its area.


1.2 The Department for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has policy responsibility for flood and coastal defence in England. However, delivery is the responsibility of a number of flood and coastal defence "operating authorities" i.e. the Environment Agency, local authorities and internal drainage boards. Responsibilities differ according to the type of operating authority and Havant Borough Council's responsibilities are set out in paragraphs 3.1 and 3.2 below.

1.3 The Government has published a policy aim and three objectives for flood and coastal defence1. To ensure a more certain delivery of the aim and objectives by the individual operating authorities the Government has published a series of high level targets2. The first target requires each operating authority to publish a policy statement setting out their plans for delivering the Government's policy aim and objectives in their area. This will include their assessment of flooding and coastal erosion risk in the their area, and the plans for reducing or managing that risk.

1.4 This policy statement fulfils that requirement. Copies are also available from the Public Service Plaza, Civic Centre Road, Havant, PO9 2AX. We are also providing a copy to:

  • the Department for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs (DEFRA); and
  • the Environment Agency

2. How the Council will deliver the Government's policy aim and objectives

2.1 Havant Borough Council acknowledges and supports the Government's aim and objectives for flood and coastal defence (as set out below). Our policy and approach will be consistent with them, as follows:

Government's policy aim: To reduce the risk to people and the developed and natural environment from flooding and coastal erosion by encouraging the provision of technically, environmentally and economically sound and sustainable defence measures. Section 3 below sets out our plans for reducing or managing the risk of flooding and coastal erosion risk in the Council's area.

Objective a): To encourage the provision of adequate and cost effective flood warning systems.

Provision of flood warning systems is the responsibility of the Environment Agency. However, Havant Borough Council recognises its related and important role in emergency planning and response. We will therefore:

  • ensure that our emergency response plans include appropriate arrangements for flooding emergencies and that such plans are reviewed, in consultation with the Environment Agency, at least every two years.
  • maintain an awareness of the Environment Agency's flood warning dissemination plan for our area and contribute to its implementation as necessary, and
  • play an agreed role in any flood warning emergency exercises organised by the Environment Agency covering our area.

Objective (b): To encourage the provision of adequate, economically, technically and environmentally sound and sustainable flood and coastal defence measures.

Havant Borough Council will:

  • provide an adequate, economically, technically and environmentally sound approach to providing the flood and coastal defence service. We will:
  • adopt a strategic approach to provision of flood and coastal defences, particularly by assessing any potentially wider effects of proposed defences. To this end we will continue to play a full role in the preparation of the East Solent Shoreline Management Plan3, and Local Environment Agency Plans for our area;
  • aim to provide sustainable flood and coastal defences which provide social and/or economic benefits to people whilst taking account of natural processes and which avoid committing future generations to inappropriate defence options;
  • ensure work is carried out in accordance with best practice and to deliver best value for money including
    (a) keeping up-to-date with policy and technical developments in flood and coastal defence, in particular by reference to DEFRA guidance, other Government publications and relevant technical manuals,
    (b) consulting the Environment Agency on flood defence options to ensure that best practice is adopted and shared; and
    (c) using appropriately qualified experts to advise on analysis and design of works or programmes of management;
  • consider alternative approaches to funding, such as Public Private Partnerships;
  • where appropriate seek contributions from developers or other direct beneficiaries of works, in accordance with Planning Policy Statement 25;
  • ensure that appropriate maintenance regimes are in place for flood and coastal defences for which the Council takes responsibility;
  • inform landowners of what responsibilities for maintenance rest with them (see paragraph 3.1 below); The Council issues leaflets that offer householders advice and gives them the opportunity to comment via a feedback questionnaire.
  • make publicly available the Council's expenditure plans for flood and coastal defence maintenance and capital works which are published in the Councils Estimates annually.
  • play a positive role in fulfilling our statutory and other responsibilities for furthering nature conservation, including achievement of the Government's environmental obligations and targets. In particular we will:
  • fulfil our responsibilities in relation to nationally and internationally important conservation areas under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and as a competent authority under the terms of the Conservation (Natural Habitats &c.) Regulations 1994
  • co-operate with English Nature and the Environment Agency in completing and implementing Coastal Habitat Management Plans (ChaMPs) covering our area, drawing on English Nature / Environment Agency guidance for plan production;
  • when carrying out flood and coastal defence works, seek opportunities for environmental enhancement, and aim to avoid damage to environmental interest and to ensure no net loss to habitats covered by Biodiversity Action Plans. We will monitor all losses and gains of such habitats as a result of these operations and report on them annually to the Environment Agency.

Objective (c): To discourage inappropriate development in areas at risk from flooding and coastal erosion.

As the local planning authority for our area, Havant Borough Council will take account of flooding and coastal erosion risks in all matters relating to development control, including development plans and individual planning applications, in accordance with Planning Policy Guidance Note PPG20 and Planning Policy Statement PPS25.

3. Our assessment of the risk of flooding and coastal erosion in our area and what we will do to reduce or manage that risk

Flood and coastal defence responsibilities

3.1 Apart from certain obligations to protect internationally important habitats under the EU Habitats Directive, all flood and coastal defence works are undertaken under permissive powers. This means that operating authorities, such as Havant Borough Council, are not obliged to carry out flood and coastal defence works. It is also important to note that the Council does not normally accept responsibility for maintenance of flood defences on private land; this is the responsibility of the landowner.

3.2 Havant Borough Council has concurrent powers with the Environment Agency and the County Council to act as the relevant operating authority for flood defences on ordinary watercourses within the Borough.

3.3 Havant Borough Council is the relevant operating authority for coast protection (i.e. measures against coastal erosion) on all frontages in the authority's area (and has concurrent powers with the Environment Agency in respect of coastal flood protection).

3.4 The flood and coastal defences that are owned or managed by the Council are detailed in our return for the database which is maintained by the Environment Agency.

3.5 The Environment Agency is the relevant operating authority for flood defences on designated main rivers (Langstone and Chichester Harbours are designated main rivers). Culverts under roads are generally the responsibility of the relevant Highways Authority (County Council or Highways Agency).

Assessment of flood risk

3.6 The following water courses are designated as main river and thus the responsibility of the Environment Agency. There is no internal drainage board operating in the Council's area.







Entire length along the Borough boundary including Slipper mill pond and the branches within the Borough leading through Queen Street Mill, Emsworth

Lymbourne Stream

From its source to Langstone Mill (Chichester Harbour)

Lavant (Stream)

(Brockhampton Stream)

Entire length within the Borough including both branches through Havant to Langstone Harbour, including the Hermitage link


From Queen Inclosure to Langstone Harbour

Wallington north (Brambles Farm)

From the exit to the Milton Road tunnel to the Borough Boundary

Wallington south


From Stakes Road to Borough Boundary

West Brook

From its sink at Horndean Road, southwards to and including Emsworth Mill Pond

Park Lane Stream

From the upstream sink at the Warren Dam, southwards to its confluence with the Hermitage Stream

Sandy Brow Stream

From Privett Road to its confluence with the River Wallington at Purbrook

Selangor Avenue Stream

From Railway Culvert to confluence with Brook Gardens Stream.

Brook Gardens Stream

Watercourse to west of Brook Gardens from A259 to harbour.

Riders Lane Stream

From rear of Winterslow drive to the confluence with Hermitage Stream

Brooklands Road Stream

From A3(M) to confluence with Hermitage Stream

Harts Farm Stream

From old watercress beds near Harts farm cottages to confluence with Brockhampton Stream 

Park Wood Stream

From issue within Park Wood to confluence with Hermitage Stream 

Hayling Island:


Pound Croft Ditch

Watercourse from rear of 172 Havant Road, to Harbour outfall.

Church Road (West) Ditch

Watercourse to rear of 75-99 Church Road, to Harbour outfall

Church Road (East) Ditch

Watercourse to rear of 76-84 Church Road, to junction with Church Road (West)

St Hermans Road Ditch

Watercourse from issue at 10 St Hermans Rd. to Harbour outfall

Gutner Lane Ditch

Watercourse from Copse Lane to Harbour outfall

Saltmarsh Lane ditch

From Saltmarsh Lane / Hayling Billy to Harbour outfall

A plan showing the Main Rivers in the Borough referred to in the table above can be viewed at the foot of this page:

3.7 Excluding these "main rivers", there are 19 km of ordinary watercourses for which Havant Borough Council is the relevant operating authority. These represent all other watercourses in the Council's area.

3.8 Based on historical flooding information, coupled with the Environment Agency's indicative flood plain maps, the Council has carried out an assessment of the risk of flooding from the ordinary watercourses in the Borough. The main areas at risk of fluvial flooding are the flood plains associated with the Hermitage and Lavant streams in Leigh Park and Havant, and across Hayling Island. The Council is satisfied that there are minimal risks to human life created by these flood risks from ordinary watercourses, but emphasises the need for the Environment Agency's flood warnings to be heeded, where these are provided (see 3.10 below).

3.9 Low lying coastal areas are at risk of tidal flooding (or a combination of tidal/fluvial flooding when discharges of surface water to the harbours is tide-locked). These areas are illustrated in the East Solent Shoreline Management Plan and are included on a schematic map in the Borough's Emergency Plans.

Action to reduce or manage flood risks

3.10 The main means by which flood risks will be managed is through the Environment Agency's Local Flood Warning Plan. This makes arrangements for warnings to be provided to flood wardens within the Borough by telephone, including individual warnings to high risk properties. Havant Borough Council has included plans for responding to both major and minor flooding in its emergency planning procedures and has arrangements for cascading warnings received from the Environment Agency to relevant Council services.

3.11 The Council has only limited resources available at times of emergency. It retains a stock of sandbags for its own use in protection the Public interest and will not normally make these available to individual householders for the protection of private property except on the direction of the emergency services (and then subject to availability). The Council publishes a leaflet that is intended to assist householders in making preparations if their property lies in a flood risk area.

3.12 The Council will implement a programme to inspect the state of the following where they are within the council's ownership.

  • Flood defences on ordinary watercourses (as Land Drainage Authority). 
  • The Council will only inspect watercourses and flood defences in private ownership where these are the subject of a complaint.

3.13 The Council will ensure that regular maintenance is carried out on the flood defences and channels which it owns. Where responsibility for maintenance rests with another party the council will only react in the case of complaints.

3.14 By following Government guidance in Planning Policy Statement 25 on development in flood risk areas, the Council, acting as a local planning authority, will ensure that risks are further minimised. This includes measures for ensuring appropriate drainage systems to control surface water run off.

Assessment of coastal erosion risks

3.15 The Borough has a shoreline with a total length of 48 km . The East Solent Shoreline Management Plan (1997) contains maps which indicate the lengths of coastline protected from flooding by flood banks for which the Environment Agency is the operating authority and those which are susceptible to erosion which the Borough Council is responsible for managing under the Coast Protection Act.

3.16 The southern (most exposed) face of HaylingIsland consists of a shingle storm beach which is subject to erosion. The predominant drift is from east to west and it is necessary to maintain beach levels at the eastern end of the beach by recycling shingle and re-nourishment.

3.17 The eastern and northern faces of Hayling are generally low lying and protected from flooding by flood banks for which the Environment Agency are the operating Authority.

3.18 The west face of Hayling consists principally of shallow clay cliffs that are slowly eroding. Where there is housing close to the Coastline householders have constructed private defences. Except for two low lying short lengths of coastline protected by revetments constructed by the Environment Agency the remainder of this coast is in a natural state and suffers from moderate erosion.

3.19 Mainland coast is relatively sheltered. Existing Coast Protection works are generally maintained by the landowner (Including the Council where it is landowner at Broadmarsh and Warblington). More recent developments generally have adequate protection but older developments such as Langstone Village, properties in Bath Road, Bridge Road, South Street, Queen Street and Kings Street, Emsworth generally require to be protected from flooding by flood boards as the land around them is regularly inundated by the tide on spring tides.

Action to reduce or manage coastal erosion risks

3.20 The Council operates a programme of routine beach management for the protected frontage at Eastoke consisting of annual reprofiling and occasional recharge. The programme of proposed works is set out in a Beach Management Strategy Plan4. The plan was originally completed and submitted to DEFRA for comment in April 1999. DEFRA has consistently refused to approve the beach management plan although it has occasionally made exceptional payments in support of the Councils beach management operations. DEFRA's regional officers are at present refusing to give consideration to the Beach Management Strategy Plan as they have requested that it should be redrafted to include the northern frontage of the Eastoke Peninsula by consultants employed jointly by the Borough and the Environment Agency.

4. Partnerships and review of this policy statement

4.1 The Council has set out its policy and approach to flood and coastal defence. We recognise the need to work in partnership with central Government and other operating authorities. Our local population also has an important part to play, in recognising the vital importance of watercourses in controlling flood risk and the need to avoid blockages, whether by dumping rubbish or obstructing flows in other ways. We ask members of the public to let us know of any problems which might increase the risk of flooding or coastal erosion.

4.2 Havant Borough Council intends to review this policy statement in three years' time, when it will be revised and reissued as necessary. Meanwhile, the Council welcomes any comments on the approach and policies set out in this statement.