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Liz Truss questions reasons behind Environment Agency being given more funding that Internal Drainage Boards





Liz Truss has questioned the reasons behind the Environment Agency being afforded more funding than Internal Drainage Boards despite the latter being “more effective”.

The South West Norfolk MP made the observations on February 6 when she hosted members of the Internal Drainage Board Special Interest Group at a reception in Westminster to discuss “sustainable, long-term funding for IDBs”.

Fellow MPs from Norfolk, Lincolnshire and Cambridgeshire joined her, praising the work that IDBs do to “protect landowners, major roads and commuter links”.

Liz Truss hosted members of the Internal Drainage Board Special Interest Group at a reception in Westminster
Liz Truss hosted members of the Internal Drainage Board Special Interest Group at a reception in Westminster

Ms Truss highlighted what she feels are the challenges faced by drainage boards such as those in Lynn, Nordelph and Stoke Ferry in her constituency, and lamented the rising costs faced by local ratepayers.

She also raised questions about the level of funding channelled to the Environment Agency, given that IDBs “continue to do the job of drainage more effectively, despite their smaller budgets”.

Ms Truss reaffirmed her commitment to working with the Special Interest Group, and will continue pressing the Government for a sustainable, long-term solution to IDB funding.

She said: "I’m very pleased to have hosted the IDB Special Interest Group in Parliament.

“The outstanding job done by IDBs across the country in dredging, ditch clearing and water resource management demonstrates the value of landowners and farmers with local expertise.

"A sustainable solution must be found for the current financing problems, as district councils should not be disadvantaged for having an effective drainage system."

Questions over the ways the IDBs are paid in West Norfolk have been at the forefront of many local politicians’ minds in recent months.

Towards the end of last year, West Norfolk Council began to call for the amount it is obliged to pay them to be reduced.

The council wrote to the secretary of state for local government to argue the current funding model of the IDBs is “unfair and disproportionate”. The authority foots half of their bills at the moment.

There are more than 10 different IDBs, each covering different catchment areas in Norfolk.

In West Norfolk, which is prone to flooding, there are seven different organisations, each requiring funding from West Norfolk Council. Other sources of contributions include landowners and farmers.



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