Information for local authorities

This page is aimed at local authorities who have key roles in addressing and preventing pollution; they are drainage authorities, Lead Local Flood Authorities under the Flood and Water Management Act, they have powers to rectify misconnected drainage under S59 of the Building Act and building control responsibilities to ensure drainage is connected right. Planners and other local authority staff can also promote sustainable development.

Please contact us via the enquiry form if you have information to share.
Defra, see link above, are the UK government department responsible for policy and regulations on environmental, food and rural issues. Defra’s stated priorities are to grow the rural economy, improve the environment and safeguard animal and plant health.  The National Policy Statement sets out Government policy for the providing major waste water infrastructure.

Defra’s plans for future water management are set out in the white paper, Water for Life  , published in 2011.

Defra also support Love Your River which is aiming to encourage local communities to take an interest in their local rivers and streams.The site has a rnage of free downloadable material that should be of use to anyone planning a local campaign.

The University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership have developed a Planning Advice Note for Integrated Water Management.  The advice note provides a 'one stop shop' about water management and demonstrates the benefits of building it into plans and planning decisions.  It's comprehensive and essential reading for anyone involved in any aspect of planning bringing together flooding, biodiversity and water at a number of scales - catchment, district and individual building.


Serious flooding can happen at any time.  Climate projections suggest that extreme weather will happen more frequently in the future.  The Flood and Water Management Act will provide better, more comprehensive management of flood risk for people, homes and businesses.  It will also help safeguard community groups from unaffordable rises in surface water drainage charges and protect water supplies to the consumer.  This link sets out the legislation including the responsibilities for local authorities.


Engineering Nature's Way, is a site full of useful resources for people working with Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) and flood risk management in the UK.  It provides opportunities to share news, opinion, information and best practice for developers, consulting engineers, contractors and people working in local and central government.  Local authorities have some specific responsibilities as SuDS approval bodies.

Fats oils and greases and ‘flushable’ products  cause real problems for our sewerage network and the environment. Find out more Fats Oils & Greases and non flushables 
The Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management is an independent chartered professional body concerned with environmental management systems, resource protection, pollution control, public health, water and sanitation services, flood defence and land drainage.  It provides training and professional development opportunities, conferences, events, publications and works with many organisations promoting a holistic approach to environmental issues.

Ofwat.gov.uk (The Water Services Regulation Authority) is the economic regulator of the water and sewerage sectors in England and Wales.  It makes sure the companies provide household and business consumers with a good quality service and value for money.  It monitors and compares water company services, scrutinises costs and investment and encourages competition.  It works closely with a wide range of other stakeholders such as the Environment Agency, Drinking Water Inspectorate and the Consumer Council for Water 


The Water Guide is a handy site with information about the UK water industry and the companies operating within it – their background, contact details and services.  All this is displayed in an easy to read format, all within this one site.

There is also the Water Pollution Guide site, where you can find useful information about the sources of water pollution and how they can be treated.

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UK Technical Advisory Group is a partnership of the UK environment and conservation agencies created to provide coordinated advice on the science and technical aspects of the EU Water Framework Directive (2000/60/EC).  This Directive sets an enormous challenge in meeting to improve and protect the water environment and is the major driver for the sustainable management of water in the UK. The water environment includes all rivers, canals, lakes, estuaries, wetlands and coastal waters as well as water under the ground. Local authorities have an important role to play in helping to deliver WFD standards for water bodies.


Natural England  (NE) is the government’s advisor on the natural environment.  It has a role to ensure sustainable stewardship of the land and sea so that people and nature can thrive, adapt and survive intact for future generations to enjoy.  Key responsibilities include managing the English green farming scheme, designating National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, managing national nature Reserves and Sites of Special Scientific Interest.

The Environment Agency has produced a number of Pollution Prevention Guides on the following activities.

PPG1 - an introduction to pollution prevention covers the 5 main activities to consider to help avoid pollution incidents and comply with the law. 

PPG 3 - works in, near or over provides advice on how to make sure your work protects the environment and meets legal requirements, including waste management.

PPG 3 - use and design of oil separators in surface water drainage systems helps you decide if you need an oil separator at your site and, if so, what size and type is appropriate. 

PPG 4 - treatment and disposal of sewage where no foul sewer is available; this helps you choose the correct option for sewage disposal and gives guidance about maintenance and your legal requirements.

PPG 13 - vehicle washing and cleaning  provide advice to help protect the environment when washing vehicles using automatic wash systems, high pressure or steam cleaners and washing by hand.

PPG 6 - working at construction and demolition sites has been developed in partnership with industry to help those working at construction and demolition sites to prevent pollution

Additional guidance about dealing with Concrete washwaters on construction sites.

Is your site right? a brief 10 point checklist


Go to this link for information about the transfer of private sewers into water company ownership.

The European Centre for River Restoration is a European network whose mission is to enhance and promote river restoration and sustainable river management throughout Europe, to disseminate information on river restoration experiences and approaches and to foster the establishment of national river restoration networks in as many European countries as possible. The restore website has lots of information and case studies for any organisation working to restore riverine environments.

The Approved Document H - Drainage and Waste Disposal section 2.62 sets out the building control requirements to ensure drainage is connected correctly. It incorporates the changes made as a result of the Building Regulations 2010 and Building (Approved Inspectors etc) Regulations 2010. The document also covers all other aspects of drainage construction standards and good practice.  Local authority building control officers need to refer to this document when approving development.

Useful documents and further reading.

  • There is an interesting MORI/Ipsos report into public awareness and attitude about misconnections commissioned in 2009
  • This paper reports on a study conducted in North East London to identify gaps in customers’ knowledge with a view to raising awareness of the issues surrounding polluted surface water outfalls: Remediation of polluted surface water outfalls – customer communication and changes in behaviour. 
  • Chemicals in Environment briefing note was originally produced for a national stakeholder workshop.  It sets out the current and potential future problems, solutions and approaches to addressing water quality impacts of chemicals as well as useful information about the chemicals of concern.
  • Defra's Tackling pollution from the urban environment  sets out the current problem, including what are considered the major sources of urban diffuse water pollution.  The document was originally written for a broader consultation, now closed, about a strategy to address diffuse water pollution from the built environment.
  • The Drainage Stratgey Framework is a good practice guide that sets out how to prepare a drainage strategy for a particular catchment.  It is aimed primarily at water and sewerage companies, environmental regulators and local authorities.  It is also of relevant to other partners, customers and stakeholders to help them understand how a water and sewerage company intends to deliver its statutory functions over the long term in a sustainable and economic manner.
  •  This advice document  provides information to local authorities on the important contribution they can make to local improvements in the water environment and to meeting the objectives of the Water Framework Directive.  It has been prepared by the Environment Agency and Sustainability West Midlands working in partnership with local authorities from across the Midlands.  There is also a Executive Summary.