The Justification Statement (business plan) for the proposed Water Level Management Board was published for consultation in July and August 2015 and the documents can be downloaded below.  The following is a summary of the consultation results and the full report can be downloaded at Lyth and Witherslack WLMB Consultation Report.


  • A high proportion of ballot papers were returned from agricultural land occupiers with responses received covering 88% of the agricultural land within the proposed drainage district.
  • Support for the proposed Water Level Management Board was received from 64 out of 86 agricultural land occupiers/landowners that voted, representing 78% of the agricultural land area that responded.
  • Although there was a high level of support for the proposals, there was some opposition to the proposed Board from agricultural land occupiers with land outside the pumped catchment, particularly from those with higher land around Witherslack or with land drained by gravity in the Meathop area.
  • There was a mixed response from the five parish councils within the Drainage District, with two councils voting in favour, one voting in favour but expressing some concerns, one that was unable to agree a view due to divided local opinion and one that voted against the proposals in their current format.
  • There were 32 individual householders that responded to the consultation, of which 28 were opposed to the proposed Water Level Management Board, the majority of whom were from outside the drainage district. The main concerns raised were in relation to the impact on South Lakeland District Council of the Special Levy, the lack of public consultation with South Lakeland District Council residents and the perceived negative impact on the environment of the proposed Water Level Management Board.
  • Detailed responses were received from twelve stakeholder organisations with three in favour of the proposed Water Level Management Board, two in favour of the principle of a Water Level Management Board but with concerns about the proposals in the Justification Statement, five organisations opposed to the establishment of a Water Level Management Board and one which requested further information on the proposals. The Environment Agency also commented in relation to the biodiversity audit. A range of concerns were raised by stakeholders with an environmental interest about the proposed operation of the Water Level Management Board and its aims and objectives.

The proposals are now being revised to take account of these responses particularly to better reflect the opportunity for more environmental benefits and the historic landscape character of the area. In addition to this, the Advisory Group has also recommended that the proposals better demonstrate the links to community resilience, support of the local economy and the benefits to access and recreation.

The timing for a future public consultation on the revised proposals will be dependent on  new legislation to amend the 1991 Land Drainage Act in respect of the methodology for calculating how to apportion costs between Drainage Rate payers and the Local Authority.  This may take several years and the Environment Agency has extended its notice period for withdrawing from the pumping stations until the end of December 2020 to allow time for legislative change and further consultation to take place.


Paper copies of these documents and the consultation report are available on request from the NFU Regional Office on 01695 554900.

Land occupiers/landowners in the proposed drainage district were mailed at the beginning of July 2015 with the summary of the Justification Statement, a map of the proposed IDB area, information about consultation meetings and where further information can be obtained.  They were also provided with a ballot paper to register their vote.  Please click Lyth & Witherslack land occupier letter 1st July 2015 for a copy of the letter and the following link for a copy of the ballot paper Land occupier Consultation Response & Ballot paper – Lyth Witherslack.

Details of the Justification Statement were sent to local Parish Councils, South Lakeland District Council and members of the Lyth and Witherslack Advisory Group which consists of representatives from the County Council, the Local Authority, farmers and landowners and environmental organisations.  The consultation response form can be downloaded at the following link – Lyth & Witherslack Consultation Questions.

Consultation meetings were held on the following dates:-



Wednesday 1st July 2015 10.30pm Gilpin Bridge Inn, Levens Lyth and Witherslack Parish Council representatives
Monday 13th July 2015 7.30pm Kendal Auction Mart Lyth and Witherslack farmers and landowners
Thursday 23rd July 2015 11am – 2pm Kendal Auction Mart NFU Office Drop in “clinic” for farmers and landowners


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