DEFRA lays groundwork for Environment Agency river maintenance pilots

Guidelines for defining what constitutes a main river for purposes of maintenance and construction work have been updated

Flooded farmland and houses. Photograph: Steve Mann/123RFDEFRA has published guidance for the Environment Agency on transferring responsibility of maintaining rivers to local organisations, paving the way for a tranche of pilots to test the idea.

The regulator is responsible for maintenance or construction work on “main rivers”, which are usually large rivers or streams, to reduce flood risk. Other rivers, known as “ordinary watercourses” are maintained by lead local flood authorities, district councils, and internal drainage boards (IDBs).

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