Lindsey Marsh Drainage Board

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Lindsey Marsh Drainage Board's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Lindsey Marsh Drainage Board is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

wmc-idbs.org.uk

THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
46 | LINDSEY MARSH DRAINAGE BOARD
CEO Andrew McGill
Trusthorpe pumping station
approach channel
It is no understatement to say that water levels need to be
controlled and managed. In England, where 9.7 per cent of the
country requires special provisions for water level management,
this is especially crucial. The Lindsey Marsh Draining Board is the
largest single internal drainage board in the country and the lead
board for the Water Management Consortium which covers
some 150,000 hectares and manages 94 pumping stations. Chief
Executive Andrew McGill tells
TheParliamentary Review
about
the benefit of collaboration and their “service before self” ethos.
With such a vast area, together with the unpredictable climate we face in this
country, we are confronted with a range of challenges. If we consider 2019 as an
example, we have faced several events of serious flooding. This has far-reaching
implications – on the rate payers we serve who already pay a local contribution for
this service; on the large farming community who also pay drainage rates and have
lost millions; and on the police, fire service, armed forces and all those who we
work closely with during these difficult and challenging times.
The infrastructure for the maintenance of water levels has been in place for hundreds
of years. There are two main parts to this: the lowland systems maintained by
internal drainage boards, and the main rivers which are the responsibility of the
Environment Agency. In some cases, the main rivers are no longer fit-for-purpose
and require upgrading or extensive maintenance, however, with the current level
of funding and investment, this is not always possible and leads to a range of
challenges. As one of our long-serving employees said recently: “We need to be
FACTS ABOUT
LINDSEY MARSH DRAINAGE
BOARD
»CEO: AndrewMcGill
»In operation since the 1900s
»Head office in Louth
»Services: Internal drainage
board
»No. of consortium employees:
64
»Services provided to the
Isle of Axholme and North
Nottinghamshire Water Level
Management Board, Trent
Valley Internal Drainage Board
and Doncaster East Internal
Drainage Board
Lindsey Marsh
Drainage Board
BEST PRACTICE SPONSOR 2020
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
46 | LINDSEY MARSH DRAINAGE BOARD
CEO Andrew McGill
Trusthorpe pumping station
approach channel
It is no understatement to say that water levels need to be
controlled and managed. In England, where 9.7 per cent of the
country requires special provisions for water level management,
this is especially crucial. The Lindsey Marsh Draining Board is the
largest single internal drainage board in the country and the lead
board for the Water Management Consortium which covers
some 150,000 hectares and manages 94 pumping stations. Chief
Executive Andrew McGill tells
TheParliamentary Review
about
the benefit of collaboration and their “service before self” ethos.
With such a vast area, together with the unpredictable climate we face in this
country, we are confronted with a range of challenges. If we consider 2019 as an
example, we have faced several events of serious flooding. This has far-reaching
implications – on the rate payers we serve who already pay a local contribution for
this service; on the large farming community who also pay drainage rates and have
lost millions; and on the police, fire service, armed forces and all those who we
work closely with during these difficult and challenging times.
The infrastructure for the maintenance of water levels has been in place for hundreds
of years. There are two main parts to this: the lowland systems maintained by
internal drainage boards, and the main rivers which are the responsibility of the
Environment Agency. In some cases, the main rivers are no longer fit-for-purpose
and require upgrading or extensive maintenance, however, with the current level
of funding and investment, this is not always possible and leads to a range of
challenges. As one of our long-serving employees said recently: “We need to be
FACTS ABOUT
LINDSEY MARSH DRAINAGE
BOARD
»CEO: AndrewMcGill
»In operation since the 1900s
»Head office in Louth
»Services: Internal drainage
board
»No. of consortium employees:
64
»Services provided to the
Isle of Axholme and North
Nottinghamshire Water Level
Management Board, Trent
Valley Internal Drainage Board
and Doncaster East Internal
Drainage Board
Lindsey Marsh
Drainage Board
47LINDSEY MARSH DRAINAGE BOARD |
ENVIRONMENT, FOOD & RURAL AFFAIRS
taken seriously and proper investment
and funding needs to be put in place.”
While this might seem harsh, it is
unfortunately an accurate reflection of
the current position.
The industry has attracted increased
scrutiny and governance over the
past decade, and while this brings
with it additional responsibilities, it is
nonetheless important. The outcome
from this scrutiny has been very clear
– the IDB has a vital role and should
beretained.
Service before self
We are very fortunate to have such
a loyal and dedicated team, and
when events such as the recent heavy
rainfall and flooding occur, their
approach is “service before self”,
working tirelessly, night and day, to do
whatever is required, but this cannot
be the only answer.
We work closely with the Association
of Drainage Authorities, the
Environment Agency and local
councils, particularly when a crisis
occurs. However, it is our view that
the Environment Agency faces its
own challenges and therefore this
relationship is not always in sync.
Our successes and frustrations
through partnership working
Much can be achieved for local
communities through true partnership
working. The benefit our organisation
brings is being able to design, model
and implement small schemes in a
timely and cost-efficient manner. We
take a lead role with our partners and
jointly fund schemes for relatively small
sums, making a real difference to the
lives of those affected in a tangible,
digestible timescale.
Larger-scale projects require greater
effort. For example, the implementation
of the Isle of Axholme strategy, which
protects over £4 billion worth of assets,
has generated exceptional efforts by
the EA, local councils and the IDB
to deliver the works required and to
protect the area into the future. The
resulting work has seen the EA lead
the rebuilding of Keadby Pumping
Station and the joint approach to
the rationalisation of all other assets,
making the refurbishment of those
assets more robust and sustainable
even though they are fewer.
Large-scale projects, and even the
small schemes protecting houses, grab
the headlines. However, the routine
maintenance of our assets is critical to
the effectiveness of our systems but
is often regarded in a less favourable
light than deserved.
All who live within a board’s area
fully understand the need for annual
maintenance. We maintain over 2,200
kilometres of watercourse each year,
removing the weed and cutting the
banks to ensure the flows can reach
the pumping stations and levels can be
actively controlled. Our winter works
focus on returning watercourses to
their original design specification or
increasing their size to accommodate
changes in climate or to enable
development. This level of enhanced
maintenance, is only required to be
undertaken every 17 to 20 years.
Annual weedcutting
The routine
maintenance
of our assets is
critical to the
effectiveness
of our systems
but is often
regarded in a
less favourable
light
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
48 | LINDSEY MARSH DRAINAGE BOARD
Similarly, we rely on the EA main
rivers, which are heavily modified, to
transport water from the higher ground
through lowland areas; they too require
maintenance. Sadly, this has been
lacking over many years, and it could be
argued that a whole communications
industry now exists to explain why work
should not be undertaken. Much to
the credit of the EA and IDB operations
teams, some work is jointly undertaken,
but it is not enough. Witnessing the
gradual decay of millions of pounds’
worth of assets and investment is one of
the greatest challenges and frustrations
I have endured during my tenure.
Investment in the maintenance of main
rivers in areas of special drainage need
is approaching a critical point.
The key tenets of our successful
partnerships have all shared a
willingness of those engaged to
apply the rules and to promote a
culture of trust, loyalty and respect,
understanding of each other’s position
and a determination to make a
difference through a common goal.
The ability to make a difference is there
through empowerment on the ground,
however, an increase in maintenance
funding and an acknowledgement
that this work is critical both locally
and nationally is required. We believe
this would see an exponential increase
in the standards of protection and
effectiveness of the systems, improve
the wellbeing of those who live
and work in the area and attract
investment and growth.
Our hopes and fears for the
future
Our hope for the future is simply
put, but at the same time requires a
realisation that change is needed on
a number of fronts. These include the
recognition of the role and the wide-
ranging responsibilities of the IDB in this
country and that they are very much
a part of the present and the future.
Additional funding and investment
to support the changing level of
responsibilities, and the upgrading of
infrastructure required to deal with the
current climate, would also be greatly
beneficial. Finally, we need closer
working relations between the IDB and
EA to ensure a seamless service and
response to the current challenges and
ongoing needs for WLM in this country.
We appeal to those at the higher levels
to find the drive and commitment to
overcome the intransigence, inefficiency
and unnecessary bureaucracy to enable
us to make better use of the resources
available. Only then will a place where
willingness, focused enthusiasm,
pragmatism and a calling to serve the
community be released and the benefits
of all organisations working in step
towards the same ends through similar
means across the country be achieved.
The key tenets
of our
successful
partnerships
have all shared
a willingness of
those engaged
to apply the
rules and to
promote a
culture of trust,
loyalty and
respect
Channel clearanceBerm on the north drain

wmc-idbs.org.uk

This article was sponsored by Lindsey Marsh Drainage Board. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss.

Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss

Even by the standards of the day –this has been one of the most exciting and unpredictable years in British politics.

The leadership election we’ve just seen marks a huge moment in our country’s history. This government is taking a decisive new direction, embracing the opportunities of Brexit and preparing our country to flourish outside the EU.

As international trade secretary, I’ll be driving forward work on the free trade agreements that are going to be a priority for the government. Free trade isn’t just an abstract concept bandied around by technocrats. It is crucial for a strong economy and for the ability of families to make ends meet. Free trade benefits people in every part of our country, as British firms export to new markets and people doing the weekly shop have access to a wider choice of goods at lower prices.

The essence of free trade is in the title: freedom. It’s about giving people the power to exchange their goods without heavy government taxation or interference. Commerce and free exchange are the engine room of prosperity and social mobility. I’m determined to tackle the forces who want to hold that back.

One of my priorities is agreeing an exciting new free trade deal with the US, building on the great relationship between our two countries and the Prime Minister and US President. But I’ll also be talking to other partners including New Zealand, Australia and fast-growing Asian markets.

And with the EU too, we want a friendly and constructive relationship, as constitutional equals, and as friends and partners in facing the challenges that lie ahead – a relationship based on a deep free trade agreement. Our country produces some of the world’s most successful exports, and the opportunity to bring these to the rest of the world should make us all excited about the future. It is this excitement, optimism and ambition which I believe will come to define this government.

For too long now, we have been told Britain isn’t big or important enough to survive outside the EU – that we have to accept a deal that reflects our reduced circumstances. I say that’s rubbish. With the right policies in place, we can be the most competitive, free-thinking, prosperous nation on Earth exporting to the world and leading in new developments like AI. To do that, we’ll give the brilliant next generation of entrepreneurs the tools they need to succeed. Since 2015, there has been a staggering 85 per cent rise in the number of businesses set up by 18 to 24 year olds – twice the level set up by the same age group in France and Germany. We’ll help them flourish by championing enterprise, cutting taxes and making regulation flexible and responsive to their needs.

As we do that, we’ll level up and unite all parts of the UK with great transport links, fibre broadband in every home and proper school funding, so everyone shares in our country’s success.

2019 has been the year of brewing economic and political revolution. 2020 will be the year when a revitalised Conservative government turbo charges the economy, boosts prospects for people across the country, and catapults Britain back to the forefront of the world stage.



Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss
Secretary of State for International Development