Policy Statement



This policy statement has been prepared by Black Sluice Internal Drainage Board to provide a public statement of the Board's approach to its management of flood risk and water levels in its area.


The Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs has policy responsibility for flood and coastal defence in England. However, delivery is the responsibility of a number of flood and coastal defence "operating authorities" which includes the Black Sluice Internal Drainage Board. The Board maintained infrastructure is shown below.

The Government has published a policy aim and three objectives for flood and coastal defence. To ensure a more certain delivery of the aim and objectives by the individual operating authorities the Government has published a series of high level targets. The first target requires each operating authority to publish a policy statement setting out their plans for delivering the Government's policy aim and objectives in their area. This will include an assessment of the risk of flooding in their area, and what plans they have to reduce that risk.

This policy statement fulfils that requirement. We are providing a copy to the following Authorities:-

Copies are also available from the Board's offices at Station Road, Swineshead, Lincolnshire, PE20 3PW.

How the Board will deliver the Government's Policy Aim and Objectives

Black Sluice IDB supports the Government's aim and objectives for flood and coastal risk management. Our policy and approach will be consistent with them.

Policy Aim

To reduce the risk to people and the developed and natural environment from flooding by encouraging the provision of technically, environmentally and economically sound and sustainable defence measures.

Our plans for reducing or managing the flood risk in the Board's District are set out below;

Objective (a)

To encourage the provision of adequate and cost effective flood warning systems.

The Board will assist the Environment Agency wherever possible in its provision of adequate and cost effective flood warning systems. Integrating with the Agency in response to flood emergencies and participating as necessary in exercises to develop and test emergency response procedures.

Objective (b)

To encourage the provision of adequate, economically, technically and environmentally sound and sustainable flood defences.

In meeting its obligations the Board will consider its activities within the wider natural and developed environment seeking to ensure the avoidance of any adverse impact. It will equally co-operate with other drainage authorities and organisations to ensure adverse impacts on the drainage district do not arise as a result of other activities.

The Board will carry out its maintenance and improvement works in an efficient and cost effective way and where appropriate use best practice and accessing appropriately qualified advice when necessary.

To achieve this, the Board will encourage the provision of adequate, economically, technically and environmentally sound and sustainable flood protection and water level management measures and seek to control that development which could increase the risk of flooding.

Within the drainage district potentially all the area is at some risk to flooding and the Board will seek to retain this risk at acceptable levels through appropriate improvements and the implementation of a sound maintenance strategy. The Board will also seek to ensure that the Environment Agency maintains at a satisfactory standard the flood defences which also afford protection to the district.

Objective (c)

To discourage inappropriate development in areas at risk from flooding.

The potential impact on flood risk through future development in the Drainage District, or in the wider catchment draining to the District, is fully recognised by the Board and it will take an active role in the assessment of structure planning, local plans and individual applications to ensure flood risk is not increased. Where appropriate the Board will secure from Developers, and other direct beneficiaries, contributions to cover the cost of both immediate and longer term works necessary in ensuring that any potential increase in flood risk is removed.

Flooding Risks in the Board's Area

As mentioned above, the entire area is at some risk to flooding but that risk is substantially controlled but varying standards of protection apply. The following are the key details of the District:-

Total area of the Black Sluice Catchment

63,585 ha

Total area of the District

43,345 ha

Area of Agricultural Land

40,145 ha

Other land including property, highways, etc

3,200 ha

Site of Designated Environmental Interest: Horbling

20 ha

Board Maintained Infrastructure:-

Pumping Stations

34 No

Pumps within Stations 


63 No

800 km

Raised Embankments

4 km

Critical Watercourses

0 km

The definition of a critical ordinary watercourse is a watercourse where there is a high risk of the channel overtopping and the ensuing flooding would effect large numbers of people and property.

Passing through or adjacent to the District are the following assets maintained by the Environment Agency:-

Main Rivers

169.5 km

River Flood Defences

172.2 km

Sea and Tidal Defences

7.9 km

Regulation of Activities

The Board will exercise as required its powers under the Land Drainage Act 1991 and its Bye-Laws to ensure that activities in and alongside its drainage system do not reduce flood protection standards and unnecessarily increase flood risk.

Standard of Protection

Through the operation and maintenance of the pumping stations and the channel system the Board seek to maintain a general standard capable to providing flood protection to agricultural land and developed areas of 1 in 10 and 1 in 50 years respectively. This likely return period cannot be taken literally and should be considered as a chance of some over spilling from the system taking place each year as being 10% and 2% respectively.

Areas which are more vulnerable due to the particular local circumstances are:-

Management of Flood Risks

The Board monitor the condition of its pumping stations and recognise these as key assets. Most of these pumping stations were constructed between 1960 and 1965 and are now approximately 50 years old. A long term refurbishment programme has been undertaken to ensure that these assets are in good condition to work effectively for a further 20 years.

The Board has an established programme of routine maintenance to ensure the condition of its watercourses is commensurate with the standard of protection sought. Where standards are not at the policy level, improvement works, where they can be demonstrated to meet with DEFRA criteria, will be considered and undertaken as appropriate.

The management of flood risk is dependent on the operation of the South Forty Foot Drain which runs from the southern end of the area to the outfall of the catchment area at Boston. Most of the Board's pumping stations discharge into this watercourse which is maintained by the Environment Agency.

The Board welcome from its agricultural ratepayers, special levy councils and members of the public any comments on the condition of its system which could lead to any increased flood risk.


The Board will seek to promote the need for works in its District and create a rational understanding among people who live and work in it as to what the flood risk is and the efforts made to control it. They will also seek to achieve directly and through local councils a culture within which the watercourses are seen as vital to controlling flood risk, whilst providing an interesting aquatic habit and dissuade abuse of them through dumping waste or obstructing flows in other ways.

The Board will publish and place on deposit at its offices notices of its proposed annual programme of capital and maintenance work following the setting of the rate in February.

Environmental Measures

The Black Sluice IDB has nature conservation duties under the Land Drainage Act 1991, the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and as a competent authority under the Conservation (Natural Habitats C) Regulation 1994. The Board will fulfil these in a positive way.

Much of the Board's watercourse maintenance work of vegetation control and de-silting is a vital and routine requirement. Whilst inevitably some short term impact will arise, this management is essential also to maintain the diverse aquatic habitat in the district. The Board maintain only a small proportion of the total watercourse length in the district, the significant majority being the responsibility of the riparian land owners.

When carrying out works, be it maintenance or improvement, and consistent with the need to maintain satisfactory flood protection standards, we will aim to

The Board will play its full role in sustaining the Water Level Plan prepared for the Horbling Fen SSSI and, in conjunction with Natural England and other interested parties, review the plan in accordance with DEFRA guidance.

The Board has produced a Biodiversity Action Plan (May 2014).  This was approved by the Board on 25th June 2014.

Review of Policy Statement

Black Sluice IDB will review this Policy Statement within a period not extending beyond 5 years.


  1. Strategy for Flood and Coastal Defence in England and Wales MAFF and Welsh Office, September 1993
  2. High Level Targets for Flood and Coastal Defence Operating Authorities and Elaboration of the Environment Agency's Flood Defence Supervisory Duty MAFF, November 1999.

Revised November 2014

Approved at Meeting of Board on 18th November 2014