Internal Drainage Board


Internal Drainage Board

An Internal Drainage Board (IDB) is a type of operating authority which occur in areas of special drainage need in England and Wales with permissive powers to undertake work to secure clean water drainage and water level management within drainage districts. The area of an IDB is not determined by county or metropolitan council boundaries, but by water catchment areas within a given region. IDBs are geographically concentrated in the Broads, Fens in East Anglia and Lincolnshire, Somerset Levels and Yorkshire.In comparison with public bodies in other countries, IDBs are most similar to the "Waterschappen" of the Netherlands, "Consorzi di bonifica e irrigazione" of Italy and Watershed Districts of Minnesota, USA.

Responsibilities

Much of their work involves the maintenance of rivers, drainage channels (rhynes), ordinary watercourses, pumping stations and other critical infrastructure, facilitating drainage of new developments, the ecological conservation and enhancement of watercourses, monitoring and advising on planning applications and making sure that any development is carried out in line with legislation (PPS 25). IDBs are not responsible for watercourses designated as main rivers within their drainage districts; the supervision of these watercourses is undertaken by the Environment Agency.

Internal Drainage Boards date back to 1252; however, the majority of today's IDBs were established by National Government following the passing of the Land Drainage Act 1930 and predominantly operate under the Land Drainage Act 1991 [ [http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts1991/Ukpga_19910059_en_1.htm Land Drainage Act 1991 (c.59) Chapter 59 Internal Drainage Boards] ] under which, an IDB is required to exercise a general supervision over all matters relating to water level management of land within its district. Some IDBs may also have other duties, powers and responsibilities under specific legislation for the district (for instance the Middle Level Commissioners are also a navigation authority). IDBs are responsible to Defra from whom all legislation/regulations affecting them are issued. The work of an IDB is closely linked with that of the Environment Agency which has a range of functions providing a supervisory role over them.

Regulation

Defra brought IDBs under the jurisdiction of the Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) from 01 April 2004, and introduced a model complaints procedure for IDBs to operate. This move was aimed to increase the accountability of IDBs to the general public who have an interest in the way that IDBs are run and operate by providing an independent means of review. At this time Defra also revised and re-issued model statutory rules and procedures under which IDBs operate [ [http://www.defra.gov.uk/environ/fcd/studies/frstatus.htm Implementing the conclusions of the Flood and Coastal Defence Funding Review Final outturn report on the Defra website] ] .

Current Internal Drainage Boards of England & Wales

There are currently 177 Internal Drainage Boards in the Great Britain, 154 in England and 15 in Wales (2 IDBs cross the border). IDBs cover covered 1.2 million hectares of England (9.7% of the total land area of the country) and 28,500 hectares of Wales (1.4% of the total land area of the country). Areas around The Wash, the Lincolnshire Coast, the lower reaches of the Trent and the Yorkshire Ouse, the Somerset Levels and the Fens have concentrations of adjacent IDBs. In other parts of the country, especially in Norfolk and Suffolk, Sussex, Kent, West Yorkshire, Herefordshire/Shropshire and the northern Vale of York, the majority of IDBs stretch in narrow ‘fingers’ up river valleys, separated by less low lying areas. The largest IDB (Lindsey Marsh DB) covers 52,498 hectares and the smallest (Cawdle Fen IDB) 182 hectares. 24 of the County Councils in England include one or more IDB in their area as do 6 Metropolitan Districts, and 109 Unitary authorities or District Councils.

The Association of Drainage Authorities holds a definitive record of all IDBs within England and Wales and their boundaries [ [http://www.ada.org.uk/showmembers.php?fs=&type=idbs| List of English & Welsh IDBs on ADA's website] ] .

Internal Drainage Boards of England and Wales
Map of England and Wales showing the area covered by Internal Drainage Boards (blue)
Internal Drainage Boards of England
* Acaster IDB
* Airedale DC
* Alconbury and Ellington IDB
* Ancholme IDB
* Appleton Roebuck & Copmanthorpe IDB
* Armthorpe IDB
* Ashfields and West Moor IDB
* Bedale & Upper Swale IDB
* Bedfordshire & River Ivel IDB
* Benwick IDB
* Beverley & North Holderness IDB
* Black Drain IDB
* Black Sluice IDB
* Bluntisham IDB
* Braunton Marsh IDB
* Broads IDB (2006)
* Buckingham and River Ouzel IDB
* Burnt Fen IDB
* Caldicot & Wentlooge Levels IDB
* Cawdle Fen IDB
* Churchfield & Plawfield IDB
* Claro IDB
* Cod Beck IDB
* Conington & Holme IDB
* Corporation of the Level of Hatfield Chase IDB
* Cowick IDB
* Cuckmere IDB
* Curf & Wimblington Combined IDB
* Dearne & Dove IDB
* Dempster IDB
* Downham & Stow Bardolph IDB
* Drysides IDB
* Dun DC
* Earby & Salterforth IDB
* East Harling IDB
* East of the Ouse, Polver and Nar IDB
* East Suffolk IDB
* Euximoor IDB
* Everton IDB
* Fairham Brook IDB
* Feldale IDB
* Finningley IDB
* Foss IDB
* Gainsborough IDB
* Garthorpe IDB
* Gravesend Bridge to Sheerness and Penshurst C of S
* Goole & Airmyn IDB
* Goole Fields District DB
* Haddenham Level DC
* Holmewood and District IDB
* Hundred Foot Washes IDB
* Hundred of Wisbech IDB
* Isle of Axholme IDB
* Keyingham Level IDB
* King's Lynn IDB

* Kingston Brook IDB
* Knottingley to Gowdall IDB
* Kyle & Upper Ouse IDB
* Ladus DDC
* Lakenheath IDB
* Laneham IDB
* Lindsey Marsh DB
* Littleport & Downham IDB
* Lombards Wall to Gravesend Bridge C of S
* Lower Axe IDB
* Lower Brue IDB
* Lower Medway IDB
* Lower Ouse IDB
* Lower Severn (2005) IDB
* Lower Swale IDB
* Lower Wye IDB
* Manea & Welney DDC
* March & Whittlesey IDB
* March East IDB
* March Fifth DDC
* March Sixth DDC
* March Third DDC
* Market Weighton IDB
* Marston Moor IDB
* Melverley IDB
* Messingham IDB
* Middle Fen and Mere IDB
* Middle Level Commissioners
* Mildenhall IDB
* Muston & Yedingham IDB
* Needham Burial and Birdbeck DDC
* Nene Wash Lands Commissioners
* Newark Area IDB
* Nightlayers IDB
* Nordelph IDB
* Norfolk Rivers IDB
* North East Lindsey IDB
* North Level IDB
* North Somerset IDB
* North Wharfe IDB
* Northwold IDB
* Old West IDB
* Ottringham IDB
* Ouse & Derwent IDB
* Over and Willingham IDB
* Padnal and Waterden IDB
* Parrett IDB
* Pevensey Levels IDB
* Potteric Carr IDB
* Powysland IDB
* Preston IDB
* Ramsey First (Hollow) District IDB
* Ramsey Fourth (Middlemoor) District IDB
* Ramsey IDB
* Ramsey, Upwood & Gt Raveley IDB

* Ransonmoor DDC
* Rawcliffe IDB
* Rea IDB
* Reedness & Swinefleet DC
* River Adur IDB
* River Arun IDB
* River Lugg IDB
* River Ouse (Sussex) IDB
* River Stour (Kent) IDB
* River Wiske IDB
* Rivers Idle & Ryton IDB
* Romney Marshes Area IDB
* Rye IDB
* Sawtry IDB
* Scunthorpe IDB
* Selby Area IDB
* Skeffling IDB
* Snaith IDB
* South Holland IDB
* South Wharfe IDB
* South West Sussex IDB
* Southery & District IDB
* Sow and Penk IDB
* Stoke Ferry IDB
* Strine IDB
* Stringside IDB
* Sutton & Mepal IDB
* Swaffham IDB
* Swavesey IDB
* Thorngumbald DB
* Thornton IDB
* Thorntree IDB
* Tickhill DB
* Tween Bridge IDB
* Upper Axe IDB
* Upper Brue IDB
* Upper Medway IDB
* Upper Witham IDB
* Upwell IDB
* Waldersey IDB
* Warboys, Somersham and Pidley IDB
* Waterbeach Level IDB
* Waveney, Lower Yare & Lothingland IDB
* Welland and Deepings IDB
* Went IDB
* West Mendip IDB
* White Fen DDC
* Whittlesey IDB
* Wilberfoss and Thornton Level IDB
* Winestead Level IDB
* Witham First District IDB
* Witham Fourth District IDB
* Witham Third District IDB
* Woodwalton IDB
Internal Drainage Boards of Wales
* Afon Ganol IDD
* Ardudwy Marsh IDD
* Borth IDD
* Caldicot & Wentlooge Levels IDB
* Dysynni Valley IDD
* Glaslyn - Pensyflog IDD
* Harlech & Maentwrog IDD
* Llanfrothen IDD
* Lower Severn (2005) IDB
* Lower Wye IDB
* Malltraeth Marsh IDD
* Mawddach & Wnion IDD
* Powysland IDB
* River Conway IDD
* Towyn IDD

Key to abbreviations

"IDB = Internal Drainage Board"

"DB = Drainage Board"

"IDD = Internal Drainage District"

"DDC = District Drainage Commissioners"

"DC = Drainage Commissioners"

"C of S = Commissioners of Sewers"

Water Level Management and Flood Risk

IDBs have an important role in reducing flood risk through management of water levels and drainage in their districts. The water level management activities of Internal Drainage Boards cover 1.2 million hectares of England which represents 9.7% of the total land area. Reducing the flood risk to ~600,000 people who live or work, and ~879,000 properties located in IDB districts. Whilst many thousands of people outside of these boundaries also derive reduced flood risk from IDB water level management activities. Several forms of critical infrastructure fall within IDB districts including; 20 oil refineries and power stations, 68 other major industrial premises and 208 km of motorway.

Although of much reduced significance since the 1980s, many IDB districts in Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire lie in areas of coal reserves and drainage has been significantly affected by subsidence from mining. IDBs have played an important role in monitoring and mitigating the effects of this activity and have worked in close collaboration with the coal companies and The Coal Authority. [ [http://www.defra.gov.uk/environ/fcd/policy/idbrev/report.pdf Internal Drainage Board Review - Final Report] ]

Maintenance of Watercourses

The fundamental role of an Internal Drainage Board is to manage the water level within its district. The majority of lowland rivers and watercourses have been heavily modified by man or are totally artificial channels. All are engineered structures designed and constructed for the primary function of conveying surplus run-off to their outfall efficiently and safely, managing water levels to sustain a multitude of land functions. As with any engineered structure it must be maintained in order to function at or near its design capacity. Annual or bi-annual vegetation clearance and periodic de-silting (dredging) of these rivers and watercourses is therefore an essential component of the whole life cycle of these watercourses.

Accommodating sustainability within the design and maintenance process for lowland rivers and watercourses has to address three essential elements:

* year round conveyance of flows,
* storage of flood peaks,
* retention and protection of flora and fauna dependent on or resident in the water corridor.

Many IDBs are redesigning watercourses to create a two-stage or bermed channel. These have been extensively created in the Lindsey Marsh Drainage Board area of East Lincolnshire to accommodate the three elements of lowland watercourse sustainability.

Berms are created at or near to the normal retained water level in the system. It is sometimes replanted with vegetation removed from the watercourse prior to improvement works but is often left to re-colonise naturally. In all cases this additional part of the channel profile allows for enhanced environmental value to develop. The area created above the berm also provides additional flood storage capacity whilst the low level channel can be maintained in such a manner that design conveyance conditions are achieved and flood risk controlled.

By widening the channel and the berm, the berm can be safely used as access for machinery carrying out channel maintenance. Whilst, in-channel habitat that develops can be retained for a much longer period during the summer months, flood storage is provided for rare or extreme events and a buffer zone between the channel and any adjacent land use is created.

The timing of vegetation clearance works is essential to striking a sustainable balance in lowland watercourses. The Conveyance Estimating System (CES) is a modelling tool developed through a Defra / Environment Agency research collaboration. IDBs use CES to estimate the seasonal variation of conveyance owing to vegetation growth and other physical parameters which they use to assess the impact of varying the timing of vegetation clearance operations. This is critical during the Spring and early Summer, the prime nesting season for aquatic birds, the breeding season for many protected mammal species such as water voles and the season when many rare species of plant life flower and seed. Many IDBs have developed vegetation control strategies in co-ordination with Natural England.

Pumping Stations

111 IDB districts require pumping to some degree for water level management and 79 are purely gravity boards (where no pumping is required). 53 IDBs have more than 95% of their area dependent on pumping. This means in England some 635,722 hectares of land in IDB districts rely on pumping, almost 51% of the total. A new pumping station is currently under construction by Middle Level Commissioners at Wiggenhall St Germans, Cambridgeshire. The new pumping station, replaces its 73 year old predecessor and will be vital to the flood risk management of 70,000m2 of surrounding Fenland and 20,000 residential properties. Once complete it will be capable of draining 5 Olympic size swimming pools every 2 minutes [ [http://www.costain2200028.co.uk/ New St Germans Pumping Station Website] ] .

Emergency Actions

During times of heavy rainfall and high river levels IDBs:

* liaise with the Environment Agency over developing flood conditions
* check sensitive locations and remove restrictions
* take actions, where possible, to reduce risk of flooding to property
* advise local authorities on the developing situation in order that Local Authorities can execute their emergency
* plan effectively for the protection of people, property and critical infrastructure
* assist where possible in any post-flood remedial and clearance operations
* assess flooding incidents to determine if new works can be undertaken to reduce the effect of future flooding incidents

An IDB's priorities during flooding are:

* ensuring the Board’s systems are working efficiently
* protection of people and residential properties
* protection of commercial properties
* protection of agricultural land and ecologically sensitive sites

Some IDBs are able to provide a 24 hour contact number and most extend office hours during severe emergencies. [ [http://www.idbs.org.uk/about.html#bedgroup About Us section of the Bedford Group of Drainage Boards website] ]

Planning Guidance

Associated with the powers to regulate activities that may impede drainage, IDBs provide comments to Local Planning Authorities on developments in their district and when asked, make recommendations on measures required to manage flood risk and to provide adequate drainage.

Environmental Responsibilities

Internal Drainage Boards in England have responsibilities associated with 398 Sites of Special Scientific Interest plus other designated environmental areas, in co-ordination with Natural England. Slow flowing drainage channels such as those managed by IDBs can form an important habitat for a diverse community of aquatic and emergent plants, invertebrates and higher organisms. IDB channels form one of the last refuges in the UK of the BAP registered spined loach (Cobitis Taenia), a small nocturnal bottom feeding fish that have been recorded only in the lower parts of the Trent and Great Ouse catchments, and in some small rivers and drains in Lincolnshire and East Anglia [ [http://bedslife.org.uk/documents/Spined%20loach.pdf Spined Loach Species Action Plan] ] . All IDBs are currently engaging with the their own individual biodiversity action plans which will further enhance their environmental role.

Many IDBs are involved with assisting major wetland biodiversity projects with organisations such as the RSPB, National Trust and the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust. Many smaller conservation projects are co-ordinated with Wildlife Trusts and Local Authorities. Current projects include: The Great Fen Project (Middle Level Commissioners) [ [http://www.greatfen.org.uk/ The Great Fen Project Website] ] , Newport Wetlands Reserve (Caldicot and Wentlooge Levels IDB) and WWT Welney (MLC). Middle Level Commissioners launched a three year Otter Recovery Project in December 2007. It will build 33 otter holts and 15 other habitat areas [ [http://www.bbc.co.uk/cambridgeshire/content/articles/2007/12/04/middle_level_otters_feature.shtml BBC Cambridgeshire Otters' Home Sweet Home] ] .

Drainage Rates

All properties within a drainage district are deemed to derive benefit from the activities of an IDB. Every property is therefore subject to a Drainage Rate paid annually to the IDB.

For the purposes of rating, properties are divided into:

* Agricultural Land and Buildings
* Other Land (such as domestic houses, factories, shops etc)

Occupiers of all "Other Land" pay Council Tax or Non-Domestic Rates to the Local Authority who then are charged by the Board. This charge is called the "Special Levy". The Board, therefore, only demands Drainage Rates direct on Agricultural Land and Buildings. The basis of this is that each property has been allotted an "Annual Value" which were last revised in the early 1990s. The Annual value is an amount equal to the yearly rent, or the rent that might be reasonably expected if let on a tenancy from year to year commencing 1 April 1988. The Annual Value remains the same from year to year. Each year the Board lays a rate "in the £" to meet its estimated expenditure. This is multiplied by the Annual Value to produce the amount of Drainage Rate due on each property. [ [http://www.blacksluiceidb.gov.uk/what-is-an-idb.html What is an Internal Drainage Board? section of Black Sluice Internal Drainage Board website] ]

Precepts

Under Section 141 of the [http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts1991/Ukpga_19910057_en_1.htm Water Resources Act 1991] the Environment Agency may issue a precept to an IDB to recover a contribution that the Agency considers fair towards their expenses.

Under Section 57 of the [http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts1991/Ukpga_19910059_en_1.htm Land Drainage Act 1991] , in cases where a drainage district receives water from land at a higher level, the IDB may make an application to the Environment Agency for a contribution towards the expenses of dealing with that water.

District Drainage Commissioners

District Drainage Commissioners (DDCs) are Internal Drainage Boards set up under local legislation rather than the Land Drainage Act 1991 and its predecessor legislation. The majority of the provisions of the Land Drainage Acts, do however, apply to such Commissioners and they are statutory public bodies. The most important in terms of size and revenue is the Middle Level Commissioners.

Association of Drainage Authorities

The majority of Internal Drainage Boards are members of the Association of Drainage Authorities (ADA) their representative organisation. Through ADA the collective views of drainage authorities and other members involved in water level management are represented to government, regulators, other policy makers and stakeholders [ [http://www.ada.org.uk/role.php?fs= The Role of ADA section of the Association's of Drainage Authorities website] ] . At a European level ADA represents IDBs through EUWMA [ [http://www.euwma.org/index.php?id=8,0,0,1,0,0 Association of Drainage Authorities section of the EUWMA website] ] .

References

External Links

* [http://www.ada.org.uk/ Association of Drainage Authorities]
* [http://www.defra.gov.uk/environ/fcd/default.htm Defra Flood and Coastal Risk Management]
* [http://www.euwma.org/ European Union of Water Management Associations]

Internal Drainage Board Websites

* [http://www.idbs.org.uk/ Bedford Group of Drainage Boards]
* [http://www.blacksluiceidb.gov.uk/ Black Sluice Internal Drainage Board]
* [http://www.cwidb.co.uk/ Caldicot and Wentlooge Levels Internal Drainage Board]
* [http://www.downhammarketidbs.org.uk/ Downham Market Group of Internal Drainage Boards]
* [http://www.elydrainageboards.co.uk/ Ely Group of Internal Drainage Boards]
* [http://www.loidb.co.uk/ Lower Ouse Internal Drainage Board]
* [http://www.lowersevernidb.org.uk/ Lower Severn Internal Drainage Board]
* [http://www.lmdb.co.uk/ Lindsey Marsh Drainage Board]
* [http://www.marketweighton-idb.org/ Market Weighton Internal Drainage Board]
* [http://www.medwayidb.demon.co.uk/index.htm Medway Internal Drainage Boards]
* [http://www.middlelevel.gov.uk/ Middle Level Commissioners]
* [http://www.northeastlindsey-idb.org.uk/ North East Lindsey Internal Drainage Board]
* [http://www.northlevelidb.org/ North Level District Internal Drainage Board]
* [http://www.riverstouridb.org.uk/ River Stour (Kent) Internal Drainage Board]
* [http://www.rmaidb.co.uk/ Romney Marsh Area Internal Drainage Board]
* [http://www.shiregroup-idbs.gov.uk/ Shire Group of Internal Drainage Boards]
* [http://www.somersetdrainageboards.gov.uk/ Somerset Drainage Boards Consortium]
* [http://www.south-holland-idb.gov.uk/ South Holland Internal Drainage Board]
* [http://www.valeofpickeringidbs.org.uk/VOPIDB_Home.htm Vale of Pickering Internal Drainage Boards]
* [http://www.uwidb.co.uk/ Upper Witham Internal Drainage Board]
* [http://www.wellandidb.org.uk/ Welland and Deepings Internal Drainage Board]
* [http://www.wmidb.org/ West Mendip Internal Drainage Board]
* [http://www.wcidb.org.uk/ Whittlesey Consortium of Internal Drainage Boards]
* [http://www.yorkconsort.gov.uk/ York Consortium of Drainage Boards]


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