About LSIDB

Internal Drainage Boards, climate change and the LSIDB

Internal Drainage Boards (IDBs) were originally established after the Second World war to ensure the country’s agricultural output could meet the nation’s needs and bring an end to food rationing. Government funding between the 1940s and 1970s established a UK wide network.

LSIDB is today one of 112 IDBs in England that cover 1.2 million hectares (9.7% of England’s landmass). IDBs protect 600,000 people and nearly 900,000 properties from flood risks. They also operate and maintain 500+ pumping stations, 22,000 km of watercourse, 175 automatic weed screen cleaners and numerous sluices and weirs. 1

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Rain

UK climate change, a growing need for drainage

The impact of climate change is being felt across the UK. Latest Government data shows all 10 of the warmest years in the UK have occurred since 2003. 2022 was the UK’s hottest year on record, with an average year-round temperature above 10°C seen for the first time. 2

We can expect wetter winters and drier summers. Met Office data suggests that extreme summer rainfall events, that typically occur once every 2 years, will increase by around 25%, threatening surface water flooding, especially in urban areas. 3  Effective flood risk and drainage management has never been more important.

Drainage Board responsibilities

Responsibility for managing and maintaining flood defence and drainage systems in England and Wales rests with drainage authorities. Whilst district and county councils have limited drainage powers, most of the necessary flood protection is carried out by drainage boards and the Environment Agency.

Certain low lying areas, much below sea level, are constantly at risk from flooding. For these, drainage districts have been established. The districts, administered by drainage boards, vary in size from a few hundred acres to over 100,000 acres, aggregating in total to some 3 million acres. The drainage board oversees improvement and maintenance of rivers, drainage channels and pumping stations.

Over 2 million acres of land, including large areas developed with residential and industrial property, depend on pumping stations to evacuate water to prevent permanent flooding and waterlogging.

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UK landscape

A vital role

In all drainage districts, it’s vital that open drainage channels are regularly dredged, and vegetation controlled. In some districts, underground stormwater culverts need to be kept in good repair and maintained. These essential works maintain the environment and conditions for local residents and businesses, ensuring full use of land that would otherwise be prone to flooding.

Drainage boards are locally based, providing a service to their community with locally elected members in control. These members are elected directly by landowners, or their nominees, within a district, all of whom pay drainage rates to the board, or are elected councillors nominated by a district council to serve on boards within its area.

The Lower Severn Internal Drainage Board (LSIDB)

At LSIDB we safeguard, and nurture, 21,000 hectares of land along the River Severn spanning Gloucestershire, South Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, Worcestershire, and Bristol City.

The LSIDB is controlled by 29 locally - elected members. 14 members are directly elected by landowners, or their nominees, within the Board's area, paying drainage rates to the Board. The remainder are councillors, appointed by the 8 local authorities which jointly make up the land included within the Lower Severn area: Bristol City Council; South Gloucestershire Council; Stroud District Council; Gloucester City Council; Forest of Dean Council; Hereford Council; Tewkesbury Council; and Malvern Hills Council. View a map of the areas we are responsible for.

Latest from LSIDB

News
News
December 15, 2023

Postcard from the Past

Postcard of the Severn Catchment Drainage Board Operations Team from 1934/1935

News
News
December 15, 2023

ADA Flood and Water Conference 2023

LSIDB Officers attending ADA Flood and Water Conference

News
News
December 15, 2023

Pumping Stations Public Consultation 2023

Two consultation events at Oldbury on Severn and Whitminster were held

News
News
December 15, 2023

Postcard from the Past

Postcard of the Severn Catchment Drainage Board Operations Team from 1934/1935

News
News
December 15, 2023

ADA Flood and Water Conference 2023

LSIDB Officers attending ADA Flood and Water Conference

LSIDB is committed to providing innovative solutions to the wide range of challenges related to drainage and flood protection, within our designated area and beyond.

Dr Manjit Pope

Chief Executive Officer