Image of the Snow Sewer Warping Drain in the Isle of Axholme catchment
Selected watercourses in the pilot locations of Stour Marshes, Kent and the Isle of Axholme, North Lincolnshire have officially changed from main river to ordinary watercourse under the Rationalising the Main River Network (RMRN) project. The management of several stretches of watercourse has now been transferred from the Environment Agency to local internal drainage boards (IDBs). All of these sections of watercourse are not associated with major rivers or major population centres, and the changes in designation aim to strengthen local decision making.
These stretches add to the watercourses in the South Forty Foot catchment in Lincolnshire, which were successfully transferred to the management of Black Sluice IDB last year.
The Environment Agency has made these transfers as a ‘determination’ under section 193C (1) of the Water Resources Act 1991. These determinations represent a formal decision to change the main river map.
ADA has been supporting the RMRN project, which is about ensuring that the right risk management authorities are managing the right watercourses and assets in the right places. By transferring these watercourses to local partners, the Environment Agency seeks to focus their resources on watercourses and assets that they determine to provide a greater level of flood risk benefit to people and property. For local communities, who have welcomed the change, this re-designation also represents more choice in how their watercourses will be managed and decisions on watercourse maintenance will now be made at a local level by the respective IDBs involved.
The Environment Agency is currently progressing an Evaluation Report for the RMRN project, which will include collated feedback and lessons learned from all of the partners involved.