ADA Work Stream topics 2019

ADA Work Stream topics 2019

Each year ADA focuses on five or six key topics that have been identified as important to the flood and water level management work of our members.

These projects are delivered with the support of ADA’s two committees who meet throughout the year to discuss subjects affecting our members. In 2019 the delivery of these projects will be coordinated by ADA’s Senior Technical Officer, David Sisson (

The following work stream topics have been chosen for delivery throughout 2019.

Educational Resources

Primary objective: To raise awareness in schools of the work to manage water levels within lowland England. The project aims to incorporate relevant flood and land drainage topics into the Key Stage 2 (KS2) curriculum; ultimately to attract interest in future careers in the industry.

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This project was introduced in 2018 as part of a collaboration with the ADA Lincolnshire Branch’s Events Committee. ADA has commissioned LEAF Education to help develop the school resources and activities, to be published on LEAF Education’s Countryside Classroom website (

LEAF Education is part of Linking Environment And Farming (LEAF), which is a charity registered in England and Wales that is working to enable more sustainable farming. LEAF Education has many years’ experience of supporting businesses to tell their story in a way that is appropriate for a school audience.

To assist this work a small sub-group has been formed including ADA staff and Lincolnshire Branch Event Committee members who together will assist, advise and oversee the development of the resources and activities.

Project lead: Heather Bailey, ADA

Delivering biodiversity

Primary objective: To rewrite and update the existing Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) guidance that is used by IDBs for their own BAPs.

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IDBs are required as risk management authorities to carry out their functions within a policy framework that sets goals for biodiversity and environmental performance. IDB BAPs focus in detail on those habitats and species that are relevant to each IDB’s area of operation and identify specific actions that the IDB intends to implement.

In 2018 the Government published its 25 Year Environment Plan, entitled “A Green Future to Improve the Environment”. The focus of the new Government Plan is to deliver improved environment through targeted policies, some of which including “Thriving Plants and Wildlife” and “Enhancing Biosecurity” have much relevance for IDB operational delivery. The concept of biodiversity “Net Gain” is also introduced via the new plan.

All of an IDB’s network of drainage channels has the potential to be valuable for biodiversity. It is therefore proposed that the updated BAP guidance will be focussed on incorporating contributions that IDBs could make towards these new objectives.

A second strand, and a significant requirement, of the work will be to identify a method for recording IDB successes or targets achieved in delivering biodiversity gains. This follows the demise of the BARS recording system previously used to collect biodiversity data. This requirement will potentially involve the design and delivery of a new recording, data storage and analysis system for IDBs and other risk management authorities.

Project lead: Ian Moodie, ADA

Byelaw and supervisory role enforcement

Primary objective: To produce reliable and consistent guidance for IDBs when considering how to carry out a legally correct byelaw or consenting enforcement procedure.

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The project team will collate existing industry advice and assess their value to the national guidance, prior to drafting new guidance, or amending any of the existing available resources. ADA will seek legal support in order to scrutinise and sign-off the guidance prior to its launch.

ADA is seeking existing advice examples from the industry including: Pre-planning Advice Notes, Consenting Process Statements, Guidance Notes, and Enforcement Procedures, such as the Lincolnshire LDA Enforcement and Consent (Concordat).

Project lead: Bill Symons, Chief Executive, York Consortium of IDBs

Data and evidence

Primary objective: To establish a methodology to collect, collate and interpret data from IDBs that can be used to better explain their value and purpose to decision makers and the wider public.

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A workgroup formed in 2018 started to formulate a set of metrics that IDBs will be encouraged to complete and update periodically. This work will be continued in 2019 and a questionnaire to gather the data distributed to IDBs.

Project lead: Ryan Dixon, ADA

Emergency Response and Recovery

Primary objective: To investigate utilising Public Sector Cooperation Agreements to facilitate IDBs assisting the Environment Agency and Lead Local Flood Authorities during, and in recovery from, emergency circumstances.

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There are already local arrangements in place where IDBs provide support to other risk management authorities during and following flood events. It is hoped that this guidance when published will help other regions to set up similar mutual support arrangements at the local level.

Project leads: Innes Thomson, ADA / James Yarham, Environment Agency

Developer contributions

Primary objective: Develop guidance on appropriate legal use of contributions from developers towards the management and maintenance of water level management control structures and systems and charging by risk management authorities for advice.

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When an IDB considers how a development might impact on the efficient flow of water through their systems, and mitigate any increased flows, the Developer should be required to contribute financially to necessary works. This principle was established some time ago, but needs a consistent approach by authorities.

The project aims to:

  • Provide IDBs with a consistent approach for development control policies.
  • Provide a standard template for establishing if a surface water development contribution is appropriate for a development.
  • Provide a standard set of surface water development contribution rates, which can be modified to allow for local drainage district conditions, such as extra pumping or urban maintenance costs.
  • Assist in the calculation of long term maintenance and asset replacement costs if the IDB wishes to enter into a legal agreement with the developer for the adoption of flood risk assets.
  • Provide a mechanism to allow for IDBs to carry out works that resulted in water environment biodiversity gains required of developers, a process known as “offsetting”, and enable developers to contribute to net-gain.
  • Comply with the new environmental requirements being introduced.

In addition to the planned guidance, it is proposed that a series of best practice exemplars will be developed to cover Pre-planning advice, calculation of commuted sums and charging developers for Biodiversity Off-setting services where appropriate.

A legal opinion will be sought prior to launch.

Project lead: Frances Bowler, Chief Executive, Bedford Group of IDBs