Have your say on how funding for internal drainage boards is calculated

09 April 2024

Environment and climate
Water reservoir

Defra is seeking views on plans to update the data internal drainage boards use to allocate their costs to farmers and local authorities.

The consultation puts forward a draft SI (Statutory Instrument) titled: The English Drainage Boards (Alternative Valuation Calculation) Regulations 2024.

The IDBs (Internal Drainage Boards) are independent, locally funded and operated, statutory public bodies, responsible for water level management and flood risk in areas of ‘special drainage need’.

There are 112 independent IDBs in England and they are mainly funded locally through drainage rates paid directly by agricultural landowners (on agricultural land and buildings) and special levies paid by local authorities (on other land).

The boards currently use a land valuation calculation to allocate expenses between landowners and local authorities. In many areas however, the 1990s rating data used for this is missing or incomplete which means that currently existing IDBs cannot extend their boundaries, and new ones cannot be established.

The NFU has closed its member feedback form for this consultation; members can instead respond directly to the government's consultation which ends on Friday 19 April.

You can also jump further down the page for more detail on the proposals Defra has put forward.

7 March 2024

Defra launches consultation on draft SI

A change via the Environment Act 2021 setting out a new land valuation calculation will enable more up-to-date data to be used and this requires government to consult on a draft SI.

Defra is currently accepting responses until 19 April 2024. The NFU will also be gathering member feedback via the form on this page.

This consultation will be particularly important for landowners and farmers that pay drainage rates to IDBs.

The draft SI will only apply to England and English IDBs. The Senedd Cymru will publish a separate SI covering Wales and Welsh drainage districts.

Using the new IDB calculations:

  • The new valuation calculations will not replace the existing valuation calculations in the Land Drainage Act 1991, rather they will provide an alternative.
  • Only new and expanding IDBs must use the new valuation calculations.
  • Existing IDBs that are not expanding will be able to choose between using the existing valuation calculations they currently use or switch to using the new calculation.
  • Once an IDB has decided to switch to the new valuation calculations they cannot revert back.

You can find out more and respond directly to Defra at: GOV.UK | Consultation on draft Statutory Instrument: The English Drainage Boards (Alternative Valuation Calculation) Regulations 2024.

This page was first published on 25 March 2024. It was updated on 09 April 2024.

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  • 7 March 2024: Defra launches consultation, seeking views on updating the data internal drainage boards use to allocate their costs to farmers and local authorities.