Valuation of other land in drainage district

Part of Rivers Authorities and Land Drainage Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 4:00 pm on 11th March 2019.

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Photo of David Warburton David Warburton Conservative, Somerton and Frome 4:00 pm, 11th March 2019

We move on to the second part of the Bill. Hon. Members will be pleased to hear that I will endeavour to be briefer in my comments about these clauses.

Another important body involved in water management that helps tackle flood risk management is the internal drainage board. Clauses 2, 3 and 4 cover internal drainage boards and, in particular, how they determine the drainage rates and special levy, which are used to meet most of their expenses. As Members will know, internal drainage boards provide an important service to their local area by maintaining water levels for agricultural and environmental needs, managing water courses and reducing flood risks.

An IDB operates within an area that is known as an internal drainage district. In Somerset we are fortunate—as we are in so much else—because we have three IDBs: the Axe Brue, the North Somerset Levels, and the Parrett. Two of those cover some of my constituency, and I have personally seen the hard work that they undertake. As the Minister mentioned, on the low-lying ground of the Somerset levels, much of which is below sea level and is intended to flood annually, though in a managed way, drainage board work is crucial and exceptionally important to us all.