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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/internal-drainage-districts-in-southern-england/internal-drainage-districts-in-southern-england
Internal drainage boards (IDB) are public bodies which manage water levels in some areas where there is a special need for drainage. These areas are known as internal drainage districts (IDD).
The Environment Agency inherited the administration of 6 internal drainage districts in Sussex from its predecessors, they were the River Ouse, River Cuckmere and Pevensey Levels in East Sussex and the South West Sussex, River Arun and River Adur in West Sussex.
Since 2012 the Environment Agency has been working with those affected in each of the districts to agree more locally accountable arrangements for administering these.
Formal proposals (in the form of draft schemes) were submitted to Defra in autumn 2015.
The River Arun is now the only IDD for which the Environment Agency Board acts as the internal drainage board. Defra has received several objections to the proposed abolition of the River Arun IDD. The Environment Agency has worked with landowners, councils and others to address the concerns raised.
November 2018 update
In November 2017 the Parliamentary under Secretary of State for the Environment, Dr Thérèse Coffey, called a local public inquiry into the Environment Agency’s proposal to abolish the River Arun IDD.
The Environment Agency has provided a Statement of Case to the appointed Inspector, Defra, all objectors and other interested parties.
Read all the Statements of Case.
The inquiry was held in February 2018, in Littlehampton, West Sussex and its findings were submitted to the minister in May 2018
Following the Inspectors report and recommendations the Minister has decided not to abolish the River Arun IDD, at this time, but requested that the Environment Agency conduct further assessments and provide additional information. This work is now complete and has been submitted to the Minister, for decision.
In the meantime the Environment Agency will continue to act as the Internal Drainage Board (IDB). This means that for the time being:
- The Environment Agency will retain powers to carry out work in order to manage any flood risk from the Ordinary Watercourses (OWCs).
- The Environment Agency will continue the enforcement and consenting powers for the IDD in relation to the OWCs.
The Environment Agency will continue to work with all parties to help them understand and meet their responsibilities whilst they wait to hear the minister’s decision.
If you require any further information about internal drainage districts and the future arrangements, please call the Environment Agency on 03708 506 506.