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Internal Drainage Boards

Within the Middle Level, there are 33 independent Internal Drainage Districts initially set up in the 18th Century and each responsible for the local drainage of their area.


In addition, the Commissioners provide clerkship administrative and financial services to seven Internal Drainage Districts outside the Middle Level area. The role of the IDBs, who undertake works under the permissive powers conferred by the 1991 Land Drainage Act and, in some cases, older private legislation, is to provide a more local flood defence and water level management service.   Each of the Boards desginates from their local knowledge the watercourses which they consider most important for the arterial drainage of their District and on which they will normally carry out work required.   These watercourses are designated on the Board’s District Plan.   The Board’s District is a statutory area, within which the Board provides a service to confer benefit or avoid danger through appropriate water level management operations.  Most of the Boards have pumping stations and within the Middle Level they discharge their run-off into the main Middle Level watercourses. Outside the Middle Level area, the Boards discharge into main rivers under the jurisdiction of the Environment Agency.

Many of these IDBs are administered from the Middle Level Offices and their administrative and financial work is carried out by Middle Level staff. In addition, Middle Level staff also undertake engineering and planning liaison consultancy work for a large number of Boards.

The membership of the IDBs is drawn from the same sectors as that of the Commissioners at a more local level and they levy their own rates and set their own special levies to meet their own local expenditure within or relevant to their District.

To view details for individual IDBs click on the drop down list above.

The links below open PDF documents published by the Association of Drainage Authorities (ADA) which aim to raise public awareness of the role IDBs and the wide range of functions provided by IDBs.

An Introduction to Internal Drainage Boards (IDBs)

A Vision for Internal Drainage Boards In England and Wales

Why are IDBs so important to the UK? Below is a poster from ADA  to help promote the importance of IDBs.

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