INTERNAL DRAINAGE BOARD
POLICY STATEMENT ON FLOOD PROTECTION
AND WATER LEVEL MANAGEMENT
1.1 This policy statement has been prepared by Romney Marshes
Area Internal Drainage Board to provide a public statement of
the Board’s approach to its management of flood risk and
water levels in its area.
1.2 The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has policy
responsibility for flood and coastal defence in England. However,
delivery is the responsibility of a number of flood and coastal
defence “operating authorities” which includes the
Romney Marshes Area Internal Drainage Board. The Board maintained
infrastructure is shown in para 3.2 below.
1.3 The Government has published a policy aim and three objectives
for flood and coastal defence1. To ensure a more certain delivery
of the aim and objectives by the individual operating authorities
the Government has published a series of high level targets2. The first target requires each operating authority to publish
a policy statement setting out their plans for delivering the
Government’s policy aim and objectives in their area.
This will include an assessment of the risk of flooding in their
area, and what plans they have to reduce that risk.
1.4 This policy statement fulfils that requirement. Copies are
available from the Board’s Offices at New Hall, New Hall
Close, Dymchurch, Romney Marsh, Kent TN29 0LF. We are also providing
a copy to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs,
the Environment Agency and local authorities in the district.
2. HOW THE BOARD WILL DELIVER THE GOVERNMENT’S POLICY AIM
2.1 Romney Marshes Area IDB supports the Government’s
aim and objectives for flood and coastal defence. Our policy
and approach will be consistent with them.
To reduce the risk to people and the developed and natural
environment from flooding and coastal erosion by encouraging
the provision of technically, environmentally and economically
sound and sustainable defence measures.
Section 3 below sets out our plans for reducing or managing
the flood risk in the Board’s district.
To encourage the provision of adequate and cost effective
flood warning systems.
The Board will assist the Environment Agency wherever possible
in its provision of adequate and cost effective flood warning
systems. Integrating with the Agency in response to flood emergencies
and participating as necessary in exercises to develop and test
emergency response procedures.
To encourage the provision of adequate, economically, technically
and environmentally sound and sustainable flood and coastal
• In meeting with its obligations the Board will consider
its activities within the wider natural and developed environment
seeking to ensure the avoidance of any adverse impact. It will
equally co-operate with other drainage authorities and organisations
to ensure adverse impacts on the drainage district do not arise
as a result of other activities.
• The Board will carry out its maintenance and improvement
works in an efficient and cost effective manner and where appropriate
use best practice and use appropriately qualified advice when
• To achieve this the Board will encourage the provision
of adequate, economically, technically and environmentally sound
and sustainable flood protection and water level management
measures and seek to control that development which could increase
that risk of flooding.
• Within the drainage district potentially all the area
is at some risk to flooding and the Board will seek to retain
this risk at acceptable levels through appropriate improvements
and the implementation of a sound maintenance strategy. They
will also seek to ensure that the Environment Agency maintains
at a satisfactory standard any flood defences which also afford
protection to the district.
To discourage inappropriate development in areas at risk
The potential impact on flood risk through future development
in the Drainage District, or in the wider catchment draining
to the District, is fully recognised by the Board and it will
take an active role in the assessment of structure planning,
local plans and individual applications to ensure flood risk
is not increased. Where appropriate the Board will secure from
developers, and other direct beneficiaries, contributions to
cover the cost of both immediate and longer-term works necessary
in ensuring that any potential increase in flood risk is removed.
3. FLOODING RISKS IN THE BOARD’S AREA
3.1 As mentioned in Section 2, the entire area is at some risk
to flooding but that risk is substantially controlled but varying
standards of protection apply.
The following are the key details of the district:
Catchment Area draining to and including the District
Total area of the District
Area of Agricultural Land
Other land including property, highways, etc.
Sites of Designated Environmental Interest
3.2 Board Maintained Infrastructure
Length of Watercourse in Culverts of >10m
Passing through the district are the following assets maintained
by the Environment Agency:
Major Sluices and Outfalls
River Flood Defences
|Sea and Tidal Defences
Critical Ordinary Watercourses
3.3 Regulation of Activities
The Board will exercise as required its powers under the Land
Drainage Act 1991 and its Bye-laws to ensure that activities
in and alongside its drainage system do not reduce flood protection
standards and unnecessarily increase flood risk.
3.4 Standard of Protection
Through the operation and maintenance of the pumping stations
and the channel system the Board seek to maintain a general
standard capable to providing flood protection to agricultural
land and developed areas of 1 in 20 and 1 in 100 years respectively.
This likely return period can not be taken literally and should
be considered as a chance of some overspilling from the system
taking place each year as 5% and 1% respectively.
There are no areas which are more vulnerable due to the particular
3.5 Management of Flood Risks
The Board monitor the condition of its pumping station and
from which could affect property. Consistent with the established
need a routine maintenance programme is in place to ensure that
the condition of the assets is commensurate with the standard
of protection sought. Where standards are not at the policy
level, improvement works, where they can be demonstrated to
meet with DEFRA criteria, will be considered and undertaken as
The Board welcomes from its agricultural ratepayers, special
levy councils and members of the public any comments on the
condition of its system, which could lead to any increased flood
The Board will seek to promote the need for works in its District
and create a rational understanding among people who live and
work in it as to what the flood risk is and what efforts are
made to control it. They will also seek to achieve directly
and through local councils a culture within which the watercourses
are seen as vital to controlling flood risk, whilst providing
an interesting aquatic habitat and dissuade abuse of them through
dumping waste or obstructing flows in other ways. The Board
will publish its proposed annual programme of capital and maintenance
4. ENVIRONMENTAL MEASURES
4.1 The Romney Marshes Area IDB has conservation duties under
the Land Drainage Act 1991, the Wildlife and Countryside Act
1981 and as a competent authority under the Conservation (Natural
Habitats C) Regulation 1994. The Board will fulfil these in
a positive way.
Much of the Boards watercourse maintenance work of vegetation
control and de-silting is a vital and routine requirement. Whilst
inevitably some short-term impact will arise, this management
is essential also to maintain the diverse aquatic habitat in
the district. The Board maintains only a small proportion of
the total watercourse length in the district, the significant
majority being the responsibility of the riparian landowners.
When carrying out works, be it maintenance or improvement,
and consistent with the need to maintain satisfactory flood
protection standards, we will aim to
• avoid any unnecessary or long term damage to all long
• ensure no net loss of habitats covered by Biodiversity
Action Plans, monitoring any gains and losses
• take appropriate opportunities to enhance habitats
4.2 The Board will play its full role in sustaining the water
level plans prepared for the SSSI and, in conjunction with Natural England and other interested parties review the plan in accordance
with Defra guidance.
5. REVIEW OF POLICY STATEMENT
Romney Marshes Area IDB will review this Policy Statement within
a period not extending beyond five years.
1 Strategy for Flood and Coastal Defence in England
and Wales MAFF and Welsh Office.
2 High Level Targets for Flood and Coastal Defence Operating
Authorities and Elaboration of the Environment Agency’s Flood Defence Supervisory Duty MAFF, November 1999