Internal Drainage Boards

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 3rd February 2023.

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Photo of Brendan Clarke-Smith Brendan Clarke-Smith Conservative, Bassetlaw

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether her Department is taking steps to (a) mitigate the costs to (i) local councils and (ii) landowners of internal drainage boards and (b) ensure (A) Bassetlaw and (B) surrounding areas are protected from flooding.

Photo of Rebecca Pow Rebecca Pow The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The Government is investing a record £5.2 billion between 2021 to 2027, in around 2,000 flood defences to better protect communities across England. Within the Bassetlaw area, from 2021/22 to the end of 2022/23 the Environment Agency will have spent over £2m of Government Grant in Aid. The Environment Agency works with internal drainage boards (IDBs), including the IDB facing the Bassetlaw District, to help ensure the Environment Agency spends both its flood asset maintenance funding allocation and the precept (raised from IDBs) in areas that provide the greatest flood risk benefit.

IDBs are independent locally funded and operated, statutory public bodies. They are mainly funded by the beneficiaries of their work receiving drainage rates from farmers/landowners and special levies from local authorities.

The Government recognises the ongoing pressure the public sector is experiencing due to high energy prices and has extended energy support for a further 12 months through the Energy Bill Discount Scheme (EBDS) which will succeed the current Energy Bill Relief Scheme (EBRS) on 1st April and for which IDBs and all other public bodies are eligible.

The Government has also written to Ofgem regarding unfair practice in the energy sector, including increases in standing charges, and Ofgem will continue to monitor this situation.

Defra will continue to work with the Environment Agency, IDBs and across Government to identify how collectively we can minimise the risks and continue to provide protection and resilience to our communities through this period.

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