Internal drainage boards


An Internal Drainage Board (IDB) is a public authority responsible for managing water levels, and flood risk in areas with special drainage needs, across England. While some form of water level management has been around since the 13th century, the IDBs of today were established as a result of the Land Drainage Act 1930 and operate under the Land Drainage Act 1991.

IDBs have the expertise required to work in partnership with Lead Local Flood Authorities and others to deliver sustainable water level management in response to extreme weather, as we look to adapt to the impacts of climate change.

From our Doncaster and Thirsk offices, we provide a number of services to ten IDBs including Engineering, Clerking and Environmental services.

Internal Drainage Boards

  • Facilitate the flow of water through drainage channels and pumping stations
  • Secure essential infrastructure such as motorways, the railway network and energy supplies
  • Advise on surface water runoff for new developments
  • Manage local water needs and help reduce flood risk to local communities
  • Protect and enhance the local environment through sustainable development.

How are IDB’s funded

The majority of funding for IDBs comes from those who benefit from the services they provide. The Land Drainage Act 1991 allows IDBs to raise Drainage Rates and Special Levies on land and property within its District.

Agricultural landowners are charged the Drainage Rates, while District and Unitary Authorities are charged Special Levies on behalf of urban areas within the Board District. Additional income may also be available through Environment Agency grant funding.

The Shire Group of Internal Drainage Boards

Through the Shire Group we are responsible for overseeing 127,303 hectares of land and maintaining 1,950 km of watercourse and 131 pumping stations. This represents 10.6% of low lying land in England, 26% of IDB pumping stations, and 8.8% of the total watercourses within IDBs.

This includes assets owned/partly owned by IDBs, The Coal Authority, Private Mining Companies, Water Companies, Environment Agency and Highways Agency.

JBA Pumping station

We provide a Total Catchment Management service

  • Water level management through the extensive use of telemetry systems
  • Ecological and environmental services
  • Flood risk forecasting and mapping
  • Creating the foundation of sound catchment management, allowing growth of social and economic requirements for sustainable development
  • Asset management services, monitoring, maintenance replacement and delivery
  • Facilitation of key stakeholders (LLFAs, Utilities, Environment, Members of the Public) to achieve common goals and individual requirements
    using BS 55000
  • Dissemination of climate change models and how these will/may affect future decision making.

We can help you

If you would like to discuss how we can work together please contact Richard Buck.

Email Richard Buck
+44 (0)1937 837900