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Posted December 27, 2008
Years ago I met an elderly lady councillor who proudly informed me that she was the `flood control person¿ for her Council. If there was anything I wanted to know about sea defences, she could tell me about it ¿ and she did. So I was flooded by advice and global warming wasn't mentioned once...thank goodness.<BR/><BR/>Surprisingly, it was not the boring subject I took it to be. As a son of the soil and not of the sea, I often find it difficult to get up a head of steam on this one. <BR/><BR/>The surprising reluctance to impose criminal culpability or civil liability concerning flood damage is well covered here. It¿s a bit like that other little `reluctance¿ of spending money on a problem which successive governments now ignore at their peril. I was particularly impressed with chapter 4 on the Environment Agency and its operational powers ¿ there are some very useful case law citations and discussions including the celebrated Smith and Snipes Hall Farm Ltd v River Douglas Catchment Board and East Suffolk Rivers Catchment Board v Kent. <BR/><BR/>The Government of the day continues to have these wonderful plans to give local authorities all these wonderful powers of delegated legislation: the problem is ¿ no money with which to do it. We know there is no a criminal offence of causing flooding whilst civil remedies for the enforcement of private duties to prevent flooding are quite limited. So what Professor Howarth investigates is the extensive powers given to public bodies with responsibilities for flood defence and the few duties actually imposed on the Councils. <BR/><BR/>Flood Defence Law shows the neat balance between flooding caused by human failings, and flooding caused by the brutality of nature alone. It will be interesting to consider how much further power will be devolved to councils and agencies by future governments. Help will be at hand with this book because Howarth has drawn together considerable expertise from what he terms a `range of perspectives¿ to embrace the practicalities of flood defence law, and the practitioner¿s viewpoint. <BR/><BR/>With higher than ever rainfalls, and possibilities of climatic change imminent, this excellent exposition scrutinises legal provisions and administrative responsibilities in a clear and concise way. I did like the table on European Community Secondary Legislation which is becoming of such significance in the early years of this century as new member states join the European Union. <BR/><BR/>This is a good, all-round read for laymen and professionals.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.