EXTENSION OF THE WITHDRAWAL DEADLINE TO 31st DECEMBER 2020 AND ANNOUNCEMENT ABOUT FUTURE FUNDING FOR THE PUMPING STATIONS
In February 2017, the Environment Agency announced an extension to the Notice period to 31 December 2020 reflecting the need to provide a realistic timescale to address issues within the Land Drainage Act 1991. This includes developing a new methodology for apportioning the costs of operating a Water Level Management Board and making the necessary changes to the legislation. In September 2017, the Environment Agency announced that it intends to continue funding the operation of land drainage pumping stations in the Waver Wampool and Lyth Valley until communities have all options for an alternative solution open to them for consideration.
One of the options that farmers in these areas have shown support for is the creation of a new Internal Drainage Board. In December 2016, the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) confirmed that there is difficulty in applying the provisions within the Land Drainage Act 1991 to enable the creation of new Internal Drainage Boards. Defra is working with partners and stakeholders in considering potential amendments to the legislation. In the meantime the option of creating a new Internal Drainage Board is not currently available for consideration by communities and stakeholders. The Environment Agency is working closely with Defra to resolve these issues and will seek to provide an update to communities and stakeholders this winter.
The Environment Agency will continue to work with landowners and other interested parties, including the NFU, CLA, Cumbria County Council, local communities, local authorities, environmental organisations and other partners to move toward an alternative to the Environment Agency operating these land drainage pumping stations in the future.
The Environment Agency will also work with farmers and landowners to progress a clear understanding of future maintenance work. Meetings will be arranged in the autumn to share the draft maintenance programme for next year to provide farmers, landowners and partners the opportunity to input into the planned programme of works.