Speaking at an inquiry into the handling of the 2015 winter floods, CLA president Ross Murray set out proposals for a management system which brought together local agencies and landowners to put in place catchment-wide flood management strategies.
These would include investment in flood defences and measures such as dredging of rivers, but would see greater investment in ‘slow the flow’ measures such as tree planting in upland areas.
Giving evidence to the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee, he said: “We need a catchment-wide approach which invests not only in the traditional defences we need, but also incentivises landowners to ‘slow the flow’ by changing how they use their land or sacrificing it for flood water storage when necessary.
"The time to put this new approach in place is now – before homes and communities are hit by another major flood.
"Rural landowners want to be a part of the solution but the right support needs to be in place for those willing to store flood water or put in place measures designed to slow its flow.
“Government investment in water management in recent years has been frustratingly piecemeal and it is high time the resources available were deployed in a more joined up way, by looking at how best to manage the threats and benefits of a river at a catchment level.”
The committee will report on the outcomes of its inquiry in the autumn.