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Environment Agency looks to transfer flood management on select Norfolk waterways

PUBLISHED: 15:03 31 October 2017 | UPDATED: 15:03 31 October 2017

A Yacht sailing down Waxam Cut. Picture: Anne Marks

A Yacht sailing down Waxam Cut. Picture: Anne Marks

(c) copyright citizenside.com

The Environment Agency (EA) has embarked on a process that will see it transfer flood risk management and regulation on select stretches of waterways in Norfolk to local groups.

Cattle enjoying the River Stiffkey at Warham. Picture: Simon Bamber Cattle enjoying the River Stiffkey at Warham. Picture: Simon Bamber

The agency said it has been looking at new ways to deliver more for the environment by changing the way it works and uses its resources.

A spokesperson said: “We have been developing proposals to transfer flood risk management and regulation on select stretches of watercourses to local flood risk management partners.

“This process is known as ‘de-maining’ and will help ensure that the right people are managing the right watercourses and assets in the right places.”

Locally, the following watercourses have been identified as pilot sites for the project: The River Hun, River Stiffkey, River Tiffey, Tunstall Dyke, Waxham Cut and Wendling Beck in Norfolk; and the River Wang and Cookley Watercourse in Suffolk.

Old Hunstanton takes its name from the short River Hun. Picture: Mike Page Old Hunstanton takes its name from the short River Hun. Picture: Mike Page

“They have been identified due to the low flood risk they pose to people and property,” said the spokesperson.

The agency is tasked with carrying out maintenance and construction work while also regulating the activities of users on rivers to manage and reduce flood risk.

“To derive the most benefit and ensure value for money, the Environment Agency prioritises maintenance spend based on the level of flood risk,” said the spokesperson.

There are 36,000km of main rivers in England with only 40pc considered high flood risk. The remaining 60pc are considered low flood risk.

“We are proposing to re-designate some main rivers as ordinary watercourse, where flood consequence is low, and where the watercourse in question is not associated with major rivers or major population centres,” said the spokesperson.

“This process means we can transfer watercourses from the Environment Agency to willing RMAs, where there is mutual agreement and local support to do so.”

The agency has been holding a number of community engagement sessions and the feedback will be used to refine the final proposals for formal consultation starting in December.

Anyone with questions around the process should e-mail project lead Marie Coleman at psoens@environment-agency.gov.uk

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