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Land drainage

Drainage photo
Under the Land Drainage Act 1991 a number of bodies have an interest in land drainage. They are the Environment Agency, Internal Drainage Boards, Local Authorities, Navigation Authorities and Riparian owners. Each has a role to play in the mitigation of flooding.
Flooding is a natural process which can never be stopped or prevented entirely, however steps can be taken to reduce flooding risk. Flood defences are but one way of reducing flooding, long term planning is needed to manage and reduce flooding risk to people, property and the environment. View the Land drainage policy statement (PDF 30KB).
Role of The Environment Agency
The agency aims to protect the river environment through a number of duties and powers affecting riparian landowners.
Under the Water Resources Act 1991, the agency has powers to maintain and improve main rivers for the efficient passage of flood flow and the management of water levels. These powers are permissive only, so there is no obligation on the agency to carry out either maintenance or new works on main rivers.
These powers include the disposal of dredgings by depositing them on adjacent land within the reach of the dredging machine’s boom.
Maintenance of a watercourse is unlikely to be carried out by the agency for amenity only, or to stop erosion where this does not threaten the interests of the agency.
The agency has powers to construct and maintain defences against flooding, to issue flood warnings, and to manage water levels.
The agency also has powers to issue byelaws.
The agency is a statutory consultee in the town and country planning process. As such, it makes representations to local planning authorities on matters in development plans and certain planning applications that are of concern to its functions. The agency is a consultee only, and one of many, and does not decide planning policies or applications .
Role of internal drainage boards
These bodies exercise operational and regulatory powers on identified ordinary watercourses. There are no internal drainage boards in Walsall .
Role of the local authority
Under the Land Drainage Act 1991, where there are no Internal Drainage Boards, local authorities are the operating authority for ordinary watercourses. They have permissive powers to carry out works on ordinary watercourses for certain purposes. Their response to work on ordinary watercourses may vary, and they often have their own regulations and byelaws affecting what you can and cannot do on an ordinary watercourse.
During a flood, the local authority is the emergency body for aid to householders, which may extend to supplying sandbags.
Walsall Council is a land drainage authority.
Role of navigation authorities
Navigation authorities include British Waterways, private companies and in some specific instances the Environment Agency
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Telephone 01922 653781