To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps her Department is taking to facilitate the establishment of new internal drainage districts and water management boards where there is local support in the North West and to enable the use of available ratings data for that purpose.
I am aware that the issue of the inaccessibility of 1990 ratings data is a barrier to the establishment of new internal drainage districts and those internal drainage boards that wish to expand their boundaries.
Defra officials are working with all relevant organisations, including the Association of Drainage Authorities, Internal Drainage Boards, Environment Agency, National Farmers Union, Valuation Office Agency, and DCLG colleagues on this issue. They have set up a Ratings Working Group to investigate and explore the way forward.
Defra is also reviewing the need for new primary legislation to address the issue.