Lakes and other water features are important elements of historic landscape designs.
Flood and Water Management Act 2010 & Reservoirs Act 1975
The Flood and Water Management Act 2010 addresses the threat of flooding and will introduce new requirements for owners of lakes and water bodies in some historic parks and gardens. The new Act is due to begin to be implemented in 2012. The Environment Agency web site provides information on the new Act.
The Environment Agency web site also provides information for owners and undertakers on current reservoir safety regulations, what owners must do to ensure their reservoir operates safely and legally. The 62 page Creating a Better Place. The owner’s guide to reservoir safety outlines types of reservoirs covered by the current Reservoirs Act 1975; why embankment dams can fail; how to check lakes and water features; maintenance issues and how to seek professional advice.
There are over 100 registered parks and gardens including lakes with more than 25,000 cubic metres of water which have to comply with the Reservoirs Act 1975. The leaflet highlights that there are many smaller reservoirs that are not covered by the 1975 Act and that they are sometimes in poor condition and at risk of failing; and owners could be held responsible for damage or injury under common law or health and safety legislation.
Panel engineers are a group of specialist civil engineers appointed by the Secretary of State. All reservoirs under the Reservoirs Act 1975 must be designed, constructed, inspected and supervised by a panel engineer.
The list of panel engineers is available on the Environment Agency web site (see External links section).
Consent will be required for any works affecting a Listed Building or Scheduled Monument or a Conservation Area. Registered Historic Parks and Gardens are a material consideration in any planning application. The Environment Agency leaflet provides advice on wildlife legislation.
Other useful links include The British Dam Society.
Flooding and Historic Buildings
01 Apr 2010
This guidance is designed to assist those who live in, own or manage historic buildings that are threatened by flooding. Advice is provided on preventative measures as well as on the inspection, conservation and repair of historic buildings after flooding.
Moats, Ponds and Ornamental Lakes in the Historic Environment
31 Mar 2011
Deposits of archaeological and palaeoecological importance may be encountered during invasive work on artificial water bodies; their character and value are described, together with key historic environment considerations for planning and executing site works.
English Heritage has published advice on Flooding and Historic Buildings and archaeological and palaeoecological value of moats, ponds and ornamental lakes.