New Biodiversity Handbook

We are pleased to publish the Boards’ new Biodiversity Handbook which refreshes our previous Wildlife Conservation and Environmental Strategy.  The handbook re-establishes a best practice culture for benefiting the natural environment in a managed watercourse environment and is available here on our website.  We have aligned the new handbook with best practice from others, including the Association of Drainage Authorities (ADA), other IDBs and the Environment Agency, and would particularly like to thank the specialists who have help shape and peer review the Handbook.

The Handbook sets out our risk-based approach for watercourse maintenance to enhance biodiversity and reduce flooding.  It shows the Boards’ watercourse categorisations (high, medium and low) and provides a hierarchy of maintenance interventions.  Where possible we default to maintaining and where possible enhancing biodiversity, including cutting grass at 100mm, leaving vegetation fringes, pollarding and preserving trees, and using a single working bank to ensure that wildlife and landscape prosper in hedgerows and trees on the opposite bank.  The Boards retain the services of an experienced ecologist to advise and guide our programme of maintenance works and other activities.