We are a local independent public body covering low-lying land within the county and unitary authorities of Gloucestershire, South Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Bristol City. This vital work enables the use and improvement of agricultural land, protects the built environment and facilitates future development.
The Lower Severn Internal Drainage Board’s responsibilities include contributing to the management of flood risk and protecting and enhancing biodiversity in urban and rural areas. The drainage board’s administrative area covers approximately 21,000 hectares of land alongside the Rivers Severn, Cam, Frome, Leadon and Little Avon.
Whilst main rivers are the responsibility of the Environment Agency, the Lower Severn Internal Drainage Board manages ordinary watercourses and the surrounding land that will derive benefit or avoid danger as a result of drainage operations. Works are funded via charges on development, drainage rates paid by landowners and a special levy upon the eight local authorities within which the Board operates.
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What is an Internal Drainage Board?
The responsibilities for the management and maintenance of flood defence and drainage systems in England and Wales have been placed by Parliament in the hands of drainage authorities. Whilst district and county councils have limited drainage powers, the vast majority of the necessary flood protection is carried out by drainage boards and the Environment Agency.
In the most drainage sensitive parts of the country, drainage districts have been established. These areas being low lying areas, much below sea level, are constantly at risk from flooding. The drainage districts, administered by drainage boards, vary in size from a few hundred acres to over 100,000 acres, aggregating in total to some 3 million acres. The drainage board oversees improvement and maintenance of rivers, drainage channels and pumping stations.
Over 2 million acres of land, including large areas developed with residential and industrial property, depend on pumping stations to evacuate water to prevent permanent flooding and waterlogging.
In all drainage districts, it is of paramount importance that open drainage channels are regularly dredged and vegetation controlled. In some districts, underground stormwater culverts need to be kept in good repair and maintained. These essential works maintain the environment and conditions for persons living and working in the areas and ensure full use of land that would otherwise be prone to flooding.
Drainage boards are locally based, providing a service to their community with locally elected members in control. These members are elected directly by landowners, or their nominees, within a district, all of whom pay drainage rates to the board, or are elected councillors nominated by a district council to serve on boards within its area.