Research: Practical approaches to the transfer & decommissioning of flood risk management assets

Research: Practical approaches to the transfer & decommissioning of flood risk management assets

The Environment Agency and Defra have commissioned a research project to investigate the issues involved in transferring ownership and maintenance responsibility for flood risk management assets to other authorities, local bodies or landowners.

It will look at how this can be done in a way which minimises impacts to flood and erosion risk and the environment, and will look at the issues involved in decommissioning assets where transfer of responsibility is not possible. The project will also consider the importance of working with others locally to explore and implement changes to the current maintenance regime, and seeking to make environmental gains where feasible.

In short the project is about ensuring that the “Right people, managing the right assets in the right way.”

Risk management authorities must ensure that resources are focussed on maintaining existing flood and coastal erosion risk management (FCERM) assets. Such assets include pumping stations, embankments, walls and structures that are maintained where there are sufficient economic, flood/erosion risk, and environmental justifications, or legal reasons to do so. This means that, in some cases, maintenance of some assets may no longer be justifiable for one authority, but could be delivered better and more economically by others.

This research project is separate from, but has synergies with, the ongoing pilot projects looking at rationalising the main river network (de-maining). (Link)

The research project aims to produce a practical guide for everyone involved in the transferral or decommissioning of assets.

It will include information on:

  • How to assess the impacts of discontinuing maintenance activities
  • How to identify common key issues for different asset types
  • The approaches that can be adopted to address these issues
  • The legal obligations on asset owners/operators
  • How to engage with local stakeholders and communities when considering asset transfer or decommissioning.

Get involved

If you have experiences of transfer or decommissioning of assets, or have an interest in these processes, the research project has launched an e-survey which runs until 12 April 2018.

Please complete the e-survey at: link here.

You can also contact the project team at: