Rationalising the Main River Network (RMRN): National Overview Consultation

Closed 12 Feb 2018

Opened 15 Jan 2018

Published Responses

View submitted responses where consent has been given to publish the response.


The Environment Agency want to strengthen local decision making by enabling internal drainage boards (IDBs), lead local flood authorities (LLFAs) and district councils to take responsibility for their local flood risk where they want to, and where appropriate.

We are proposing to transfer the management of flood risk on some rivers to other risk management authorities (RMAs). Consultation is now taking place in the following locations:

  • Suffolk (East Anglia)
  • Stour Marshes (Kent)
  • South Forty Foot Catchment (Lincolnshire)

This will result in these stretches of river being removed from the statutory main river map. You can view an interactive map of the proposed changes by clicking here. They will be re-designated as ordinary watercourses, with flood risk management activities passing to the relevant IDBs or LLFAs/district councils.

We prioritise maintenance activities based on flood risk to people and property, and focus management at locations with high flood risk. This means that some main river watercourses, deemed at low risk of flooding, can suffer from intermittent funding.

The maintenance responsibilities of riverside (riparian) landowners would not change. The permissive powers to undertake maintenance on the watercourses would be transferred to the IDB or district council. They will only use these powers where they deem it necessary to supplement the maintenance required of riparian landowners and have the funding to do so.

This consultation sets out all of the information on our proposals. It explains how the proposed sections of watercourse are currently managed and funded and provides details on future management and funding, if de-maining does or doesn’t take place.

You can also view the National Overview consultation document by clicking here.

During October 2017 we held a number of public drop-in events to discuss our proposals. We have also met and consulted with county councils, district councils, parish councils, Natural England, the National Farmers Union and a range of other stakeholders. All of the information made available on our proposal during the public drop-in sessions is presented in this consultation.

Why We Are Consulting

We are consulting to get feedback from all of those individuals, groups and organisations, who are affected by, or interested in, our proposals. We welcome everyone’s views.

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.

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

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 to de-main by email or in writing to Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) within 6 weeks of the publication of the Notice.

What Happens Next

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.

In each location, if de-maining is approved by the Environment Agency Board, we will publish our decision in the form of a ‘Decision for Designation Change’ Notice on the gov.uk website and in local newspapers.

Anyone who is unhappy with the decision can raise an objection by email or in writing to Defra within six weeks of the publication of the Notice.


  • 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