Council and Internal Drainage Boards continue partnership work to tackle flooding issues

Fri, 08 Feb 2019

East Riding of Yorkshire Council is continuing to work closely with the region’s Internal Drainage Boards (IDBs) and the Association of Drainage Authorities to support the important work they undertake in improving flood risk management and protecting and enhancing biodiversity in urban and rural areas.

The council is the lead local flood authority for the East Riding, responsible for managing the risk of flooding from surface water, groundwater and ordinary watercourses, with IDBs, which are local independent public bodies, responsible for managing water levels in low-lying areas where there is a special drainage need.

Fourteen IDBs operate in the East Riding. Last year they supported an 11-month review of their work that was undertaken by a review panel from East Riding of Yorkshire Council.

For such sizeable sums of public money spent, the IDBs placed a levy of £1.4million on the council for 2017-2018, relatively little is known or heard about IDBs by tax paying members of the public.

Since the review panel report was published, much work has gone into working with risk management authorities and relevant organisations to ensure better accountability, communication and coordination of IDBs.

The review identified a number of recommendations to be actioned, including four for the council.

These were:

  • That the lead local flood authority works with Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs agencies to develop a wide ranging licensing scheme for each internal drainage district with a form of standing advice.
  • That the Association of Drainage Authorities, in conjunction with the lead local flood authority, lobbies the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to work with the Environment Agency in order that Public Sector Co-Operation Agreements can be extended for longer periods, subject to the appropriate funding. It has been confirmed to the council that longer agreements are now in place in Yorkshire, which is a first across the country.
  • That Internal Drainage Board members, newly appointed by the council, be provided with a briefing regarding their role and remit on drainage boards and operations of Internal Drainage Boards and that appointed members be proactive in seeking an induction from the clerk of their Internal Drainage Board. Since the review was published a system to provide this briefing information has been established.
  • That the lead local flood authority liaise with the Association of Drainage Authorities in establishing a standard set of key performance indicators for Internal Drainage Boards in order to encourage the sharing of good practice.

Councillor David Elvidge, chairman of the council’s environment and regeneration overview and scrutiny sub-committee, said: “Following the completion of the review in September last year, the council and colleagues from the region’s IDBs have made good progress on the recommendations that were made and I would like to commend the work of council officers and our partners at the IDBs and the Association of Drainage Authorities.

“Flooding is one of the biggest risks to the East Riding and can have serious consequences for both residents and businesses. Managing this risk is a high priority for the council and for the IDBs and requires a partnership approach to ensure the best possible outcomes are being achieved.”