Rationalising the Main River Network: De-maining Pilot Project Consultations

Closes 12 Feb 2018

Opened 21 Dec 2017


As part of the Rationalising the Main River (RMRN) de-maining pilot project, the Environment Agency proposes to transfer flood risk management activities on the following sections of river and assets from the Environment Agency to the internal drainage boards (IDBs), lead local flood authorities (LLFAs) and district councils listed below.

  • Suffolk Rivers, Suffolk - 3 stretches of low risk watercourse (approximately 22.4 km) are proposed for de-maining to East Suffolk Internal Drainage Board and Suffolk County Council working with Suffolk Coastal District Council and Waveney District Council. You can view an interactive map of the proposed changes by clicking here.
  • South Forty Foot Catchment, South Lincolnshire - 5 stretches of low risk watercourse, all tributaries of South Forty Foot Drain (approximately 16.8 km) are proposed for de-maining to Black Sluice Internal Drainage Board. You can view an interactive map of the proposed changes by clicking here.
  • Stour Marshes, East Kent - 10 stretches of low risk watercourse across Stour Marshes, (approximately 36.5km) are proposed for de-maining to the River Stour (Kent) Internal Drainage Board. You can view an interactive map of the proposed changes by clicking here.

The transfer would result in these stretches of river being removed from the statutory main river map. They will be re-designated as ordinary watercourses, with flood risk management activities passing to the relevant internal drainage boards or lead local flood authorities/district councils listed above.

For anyone who wishes to comment on the project as a whole, there is an option to do so (see ‘Have your say section below’). You can also download and print out the National Overview, South Forty Foot Catchment, Stour Marshes and Suffolk consultations by clicking on the relevant links in the 'Related Links' section at the bottom of this page.

How we have listened to the feedback you’ve given us at our drop in events and what information we will provide in the consultations

Throughout October public drop-in events were held in each location to discuss and get feedback on our proposals. We would like to say a big thank you to everyone who took the time to come along. We have also met and discussed the proposals with local authorities, the Association of Drainage Authorities, wildlife and fishing bodies, the National Farmers Union and other interested parties.

We have listened to your feedback.  We have reviewed what you told us. You wanted more information on the following:

  • What maintenance works would be carried out if de-maining went ahead
  • How future maintenance would be funded
  • How we can be confident that the internal drainage board or lead local flood authority/district council will manage the watercourse in future as set out in the consultation
  • How we will ensure that the environment will continue to be protected
  • Whether the internal drainage board or lead local flood authority/district council has sufficient skills and resources to take on flood risk activities
  • What the responsibilities are for those landowners whose land is adjacent to the affected watercourses

We have made sure that these points are included in the consultation.

Where you can find more information

If you have any questions about the project or the consultation please get in touch with your relevant contact:

National De-maining Technical Lead – Lucy Roberts


Suffolk (East Anglia) – Marie Coleman or Hannah Watson


South Forty Foot Catchment (Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire) – Abigail Jackson


Stour Marshes (Kent and South London) – Alex Bateman


Why We Are Consulting

We will publish all of the consultation feedback (this will be anonymous) in a summary document on GOV.UK and on Citizen Space within 12 weeks of the end date of the consultation.

We will take into account all of the consultation responses received, along with all of the other important considerations, before deciding whether to proceed with the proposal.

If we decide to proceed with de-maining we will publish a “proposal for designation change” notice on GOV.UK and in local newspapers. Anyone can challenge the decision by email or in writing to Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) within 6 weeks of the publication of the Notice.

Have your say

The following consultations are now live: 


  • IDBs
  • Local authorities
  • District and parish councils
  • Environmental bodies
  • Land owners
  • Farming associations
  • Drainage associations
  • RFCCs
  • Elected representatives, including MPs
  • Water companies
  • Members of the public
  • Recreational and commercial river users
  • Community groups
  • Flood action groups


  • Flood management
  • Fishing and boating
  • Water quality
  • Habitats and wildlife
  • Permits
  • Environmental permitting