View across Braunton Marsh, Devon
On behalf of all the team at ADA, I wish everyone taking the time to read this a very happy, healthy and prosperous 2019. Can I also wish everyone in our Industry a “Dry January”…not of the sort that you might or might not have pledged to, but the version that doesn’t bring any misery of flooding. That said, there are still some concerns about not having enough water in our rivers and reservoirs as we head towards the spring and there is no room for complacency in not planning ahead.
I have just been to Dunkirk with colleagues from Water Resources East and the Environment Agency to discuss and share knowledge with our French colleagues about managing water and, subject to the broad range of regional variations they have, they are in the same boat as us. I am pleased to say that, despite the political constipation around our withdrawal from the EU, the many technical people involved in water management will be very much continuing to work together across borders into the foreseeable future and recognise the considerable benefits of so doing.
It is also a great pleasure to welcome Ian back after his well-deserved paternity break, having been with his firstborn son during his first few weeks. And talking of welcomes, our first Technical & Environmental Committee of the year saw an excellent range of new faces volunteering their knowledge and skills to help us. My sincere thanks also go to those standing down this year – ADA has greatly appreciated your input to the committees. Don’t think, however, that just because you do not have a seat at one of the committee tables that you cannot participate. To the contrary, anyone is hugely welcome to get involved in what we are doing and there are increasing and very valuable examples of that happening around the country.
My thanks also to all of you who have renewed your membership in 2019 and we are very proud to be able to continue to represent your interests. Between us, we can all work together to influence and innovate in driving our industry continuously onwards and upwards and the more of you we have on board, the better and stronger the message we can broadcast to the public and politicians about what a good job is being done on managing drainage, water levels and flood risk.
The vital subsets of those primary goals include improving our environment, having an exemplary health, safety and welfare ethos, and, of course, demonstrating good governance and value for the public purse. ADA will be doing all that it can to help you in these particular fields and we very much hope that as many of you as possible will sign up to attend one of the Good Governance Guide workshops in March and early April. There should be one near you – Kings Lynn, Doncaster, Peterborough, Epney and London – and they are free to attend so please sign up on ADA’s website to guarantee a place.
Thank you to the large majority of our IDB members who took the time and effort to complete the health & safety survey at the back end of last year. Ian and I will be reviewing the results over the coming months and we look forward to reporting back to you all with the intention of helping you all focus on being even better in future.
Right now, our attentions are targeted at the final preparations for another successful Floodex event on 27th and 28th February, once again in Peterborough. This year, we have broadened our scope to include our friends and colleagues for the UK Irrigation Association and we are also delighted to be hosting the launch of the newly formed Association of SuDS Authorities. As always, we are looking to generate a quality networking and business development environment for our exhibitors and attendees and we have over 25 keynote seminars across all three subject areas to share and discuss the latest information on a wide range of topics. Take a look at the show website at www.floodex.co.uk for the latest news and I look forward to seeing you there. We also have some spaces left for the Floodex event dinner being held at the Marriott Hotel. Book soon to avoid disappointment !
I am also excited to have received the green light from ADA’s Board to recruit a new technical officer to work closely with Ian. It has been made clear that you want more technical support from ADA and, once we recruit someone, I will look forward to being able to fulfill your wishes. We will be advertising the role very shortly so if you happen to know of anyone looking for a similar job, please do put them in touch and more details of who we are looking for will shortly be going live on ADA’s website.
Coming back to our committees, we have decided to narrow down the number of things they are actively looking at through the year and concentrate on producing outcomes so that members can derive more benefit from the work done. David Sisson will be helping drive that work this year and helping to coach/mentor our new recruit. The subjects being focused on are;
Continuing activity will be also ongoing around the eels regulations, water transfer & abstraction licencing and public sector co-operation agreements.
Finally, and for those of you that followed my river limericks on twitter, here’s one to get the new year started, covering another challenging subject – invasive weeds !
To all who work on the Soar
It must seem a bit of a bore
When pennywort seeds
With much cursing the weeds,
And control that is needed, and more