The Environment Agency is working with in West Lancashire to help landowners explore alternative arrangements for future land drainage.
In September 2015 the Environment Agency notified landowners that they would cease operation of 5 pumping stations: Banks Marsh, Boundary Brook, Clay Brow, Kew and Rufford Causeway in 2 years time.
The Environment Agency is working with the National Farmers Union and Country Land and Business Association to help landowners explore alternative arrangements for the future of these pumping stations. They met with farmers in each of the pumped areas before Christmas and heard their views about the future of land drainage in the area.
One option is the establishment of a Water Level Management Board who would be funded by the agricultural land owners who would pay a drainage rate per acre and a special levy from the local council paid on behalf of all non-agricultural businesses, roads and other beneficiaries in the area. This board would be responsible for managing the pumping stations and maintaining the water levels in the area.
As the agricultural community would pay the most towards a Water Level Management Board it is important to understand if it is something they are interested in. The National Farmers Union and Country Land and Business Association have written to all agricultural land owners in the Alt Crossens catchment asking them if they agree to the proposal to look into a new Water Level Management Board (referred to as an Internal Drainage Board). It is vital that all land owners respond with their views by 29th February.
If there is a favourable response, the Environment Agency will continue to work with and support the farming community to develop detailed businesses cases that will outline the specific area, activities and costs of running such a board. If a detailed business case is produced, there will be a public consultation on the proposals before any decision to progress the Water Level Management Board is made.
More information about Water Level Management Boards can be obtained from the Association of Drainage Authorities website www.ada.org.uk and copies of the ballot and letter can be obtained from your local NFU office