Press release

River transfer project gives local communities more say

Public drop-ins are launched for river transfer project, which will bring 'new wave' of responsibility for local communities.

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A project designed to give local organisations and communities more say over the management of local watercourses has entered a new phase with the launch of public drop-ins in four pilot areas throughout October 2017.

The project is exploring the potential to re-designate several sections of selected ‘Main Rivers’ as ‘Ordinary Watercourses,’ (a process known as ‘de-maining’) where - in agreement with the Environment Agency - partners such as Internal Drainage Boards (IDBs) or Lead Local Flood Authorities (LLFAs) are keen to take on the lead role of local watercourses.

The project is piloting these changes in 5 locations. 4 of these locations are now approaching the consultation stage of the process and drop-in events will be held in:

  • areas of Norfolk and Suffolk
  • Stour Marshes in Kent,
  • The Isle of Axholme in the East Midlands
  • South Forty Foot Catchment in Lincolnshire

The final pilot at Wormbrook and Allensmore Brook in the West Midlands will be running to a different timeline.

The project aims to bring significant benefits to local communities, allowing those who know the layout of their land to take control of their local watercourses, and could help pave the way for further de-maining opportunities throughout England.

For the Environment Agency, the project will also ensure resources are prioritised where the greatest impact on reducing flood risk can be achieved.

Rachael Hill, Flood and Coastal Risk Manager for the Environment Agency, said:

We are working with local organisations to strengthen local decision-making. Internal Drainage Boards and Lead Local Flood Authorities are very much on the ground in communities so giving them responsibility over their own watercourses is a win-win situation that will ensure that the right people are managing the right watercourses in the right places.

We welcome the launch of the community drop-in sessions and we look forward to working together on this project to benefit people and the environment.

Innes Thomson, Chief Executive of the Association of Drainage Authorities (ADA), added:

This is an unmissable opportunity for local communities to have their say on how they would like to see their local watercourses managed in the best way to make use of the funds available, whilst improving the quality of those watercourses, the environment and community wellbeing associated with healthy, maintained rivers and streams.

The drop-in sessions are an ideal way to find out more about the plans, help allay possible concerns and, very importantly, to provide support for these trials so please do try and find time to come to one of them.

Gaining local support for the transfer of watercourses through engagement and consultation is essential for the success of the project. The public drop-ins will be an opportunity for local communities and interested parties to ask questions and influence the proposals.

This will be followed by a formal consultation on GOV.UK currently scheduled for December 2017 which will seek further views on the proposals. If there are no objections, changes to the watercourse will take place in July 2018.

Drop-in sessions:

East Midlands:

Date Time Location
26 October 2pm-5pm Haxey Chapel- Stephen Jones Community Hall, DN9 2LA
31 October 10am-1pm Coronation Hall, DN9 1RL

Lincolnshire:

Date Time Location
9 October 1pm-6pm Rippingale Village Hall, PE10 0TA
11 October 1pm-6pm Billingborough Village Hall, NG34 0QH
18 October 1pm-6pm Helpringham Memorial Hall, NG34 0RJ

Norfolk and Suffolk:

Date Time Location
16 October 2pm-7pm Kettlestone Village Hall, NR21 0AU
19 October 2pm-7pm Dereham Memorial Hall Meeting Room, NR19 1AD
24 October 2pm-7pm Halesworth Methodist Church, IP19 8LR
26 October 2pm-7pm Wymondham Central Hall, NR18 0QB
27 October 3pm-7pm Hunstanton Community Centre, PE36 5BW
31 October 2pm-7pm Sea Palling and Waxham Village Hall, NR12 0US

Stour Marshes:

Date Time Location
4 October 2pm-7pm Minster Village Hall, CT12 4BU
19 October 2pm-7pm Little Chart Village Hall, TN27 0QB
25 October 2pm-7pm Great Mongeham Parish Hall, CT14 9LL
Published 16 October 2017