This page highlights some of the current parliamentary material available on flooding. This includes select committee reports, briefing papers on current legislation and other subjects produced by the parliamentary research services, and the latest Early Day Motions put down by MPs.

Commons Briefing Papers

02.02.2016Flood insurance
This note outlines issues relating to flood insurance within the UK and the establishment of the Flood Re scheme by the Water Act and subsequent Regulations.
21.01.2016Winter floods 2015-16
A House of Commons Library Briefing Paper setting out the Government response to the winter floods 2015-16 and the support schemes announced; commentary and calls for action following the flooding; and information for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
15.12.2015The Bellwin Scheme
Emergency financial assistance to local authorities in England is provided by the Bellwin Scheme. Normally this is provided following unusual weather events, though assistance can be available in other circumstances. The Bellwin Scheme operates in England, with similar provisions in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. This note outlines the workings of the scheme.
17.11.2014Flood defence spending in England
Average flood damage costs are currently 1.1 billion per year. Maintaining existing levels of flood defence would require spending on flood defences to increase to over 1 billion per year by 2035. National flood defence spending will reduce slightly from current levels over the next four years. While the overall number of properties at risk of flooding may not rise in the short term, there could be a significant increase in the longer term if current spending levels do not increase.
17.06.2014Winter Floods 2013/14
A summary of the Government response to severe flooding in the Winter of 2013-14, including details of recent announcements by the Prime Minister, information about Government policy on flood planning and response, and sources of advice for those affected. Recent updates include details of the Environment Food and Rural Affairs Committee report on the Winter Floods published in June 2014.
15.05.2013The Water Bill
The Government plans to introduce a Water Bill in this parliamentary session. It will probably focus on increasing competition in the water sector, and it will also aim to deliver other objectives including the provision of flood insurance, the better management of water supplies and more sustainable water abstraction.
18.04.2013Household flood insurance
There could be large flood insurance cost increases in coming years. New arrangements to ensure that affordable flood insurance remains widely available are currently being debated. The Government said that that it would make an announcement in spring 2012, but it is still in consultation with the insurance industry.
30.11.2011Surface water drainage charge (rain tax)
This note introduces the debate surrounding the surface water drainage charge, or 'rain tax'. Following a change in legislation, water companies are now permitted to introduce surface water drainage charge concessionary rates for community groups.
28.01.2010Flood and Water Management Bill: Committee Stage Report
This is a report on the House of Commons Committee Stage of the Flood and Water Management Bill. It complements Research Paper 09/91 prepared for the Commons Second Reading.
10.12.2009Flood and Water Management Bill. Bill 9 2009-10.
There has been growing pressure to introduce legislation to address the threat of flooding and water scarcity-both are predicted to increase with climate change. The Government published a draft Flood and Water Management Bill in April 2009, and the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee undertook pre-legislative scrutiny of the document. The Committee welcomed a number of the proposals, but it was concerned that a lack of parliamentary time would undermine the introduction of a comprehensive Bill. The Government introduced a slimmed-down version of the Bill on 19 November 2009. Key features include measures to: require the Environment Agency to create a National Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management Strategy, which a number of organisations will have to follow; require lead local flood authorities to create Local Flood Risk Management Strategies; enable the Environment Agency and local authorities more easily to carry out flood risk management works; introduce a more risk-based approach to reservoir management; change the arrangements that would apply should a water company go into administration; enable water companies more easily to control non-essential uses of water, such as the use of hosepipes; enable water companies to offer concessions to community groups for surface water drainage charges; require the use of sustainable drainage systems in certain new developments; and, introduce a mandatory build standard for sewers.

Lords Library Notes

22.01.2014Water Bill
The Water Bill would introduce greater competition in the water sector by allowing non-household customers to switch their water and sewerage supplier (retail competition) and by allowing new entrants to the water market to provide new sources of water or sewerage treatment services (upstream competition).


11.12.2014Catchment-Wide Flood Management
Changing weather patterns have made structural defences less effective at managing flooding. An approach that employs a range of natural flood management measures across a river catchment is likely to reduce the probability of flooding and pressure on structural defences. This POSTnote describes the measures and the challenges of implementing them over large catchments.
05.12.2011Natural Flood Management
Natural flood management, defined here as the alteration, restoration or use of landscape features, is being promoted as a novel way of reducing flood risk. This POSTnote reviews the policy drivers of this approach, as well as the scientific basis, and implementation, of inland natural flood management strategies.
01.09.2010Sea level rise, September 2010
This POSTnote summerizes the causes of sea level rise, and the uncertainties in and the consequences for UK climate change adaptation.
01.12.2008River basin management plans, December 2008
This POSTnote outlines some of the challenges in implementing River Basin Management Plans (RBMPs) in the UK to meet Water Framework Directive (WFD) objectives.
01.07.2007Urban flooding, July 2007
This POSTnote sets out the current approaches to managing urban drainage and examines proposals for improving them. Urban flooding, July 2007. POSTnote 07/289.

Select Committee Reports

12.07.2011Humanitarian response to the Pakistan floods.International
Government response. International Development Select Committee; Department for International Development report [Commons]
27.04.2011Humanitarian response to the Pakistan floods.
International Development Select Committee report [Commons]
30.03.2011Future flood and water management legislation.
Government response. Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee; Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs report [Commons]
15.12.2010Future flood and water management legislation.
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee report [Commons]

Early Day Motions

That this House sympathises with the Australian people who are suffering due to the severe flooding that is occurring in the state of Queensland; offers its support and condolences ...
That this House notes the remarks of the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on 13 July 2010 indicating that the Coalition Government is preparing ...
That this House warmly welcomes the setting up of the Cumbria Flood Recovery Fund by the Cumbria Community Foundation to support individuals, families and voluntary groups who have ...
That this House wishes to thank the emergency services for all their hard work, dedication and commitment as they responded to the appalling floods in Cumbria last week; commends the ...
That this House notes with concern that 27.3 per cent. of local planning authorities have, in the last four years, approved planning permission for development in spite of an Environment ...


  • Commons Briefing Papers (CBP) Papers providing in-depth and impartial analysis on every major piece of primary legislation and on other topics of public and parliamentary concern. Regular statistics papers are also published.
  • Early Day Motions (EDMs) - formal motions submitted by MPs in the House of Commons
  • POSTnotes (POST PN) - proactive four-page policy briefings from the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology based on reviews of the research literature, interviews with stakeholders and peer review, commissioned by the POST Board
  • Lords Library Notes (LLN) - authored publications by the research section of the House of Lords Library that provide analysis of Bills, subjects for debate in the House and other issues of interest to Members.
  • Select Committee Reports - papers produced by all select committees of both Houses