If you would like more information about the election process please refer to the Land Drainage Act 1991, or contact the Returning Officer at the Boards office on 01234 767995 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Have a question? Look through our frequently asked questions for an answer.
Only occupiers of Agricultural Land and Buildings (including pony paddocks, private fishing lakes, woodlands etc) pay drainage rates direct to the Board. Rates associated with “Other Land” (such as domestic homes and gardens, businesses, retail outlets, amenities etc) are covered by “Special Levy” paid by Local Councils who in turn recover the majority of this charge from Central Government.
IDB levies have been collected through the local district or unitary authorities since the 1970s through rates (now council tax) to improve the efficiency of administration, having previously been paid directly by landowners and occupants living within an Internal Drainage District.
To make the process even more efficient, it was decided to collect the property as an average charge with the rates (council tax), so property owners only made one payment to the local authority. The local authorities pay the sum of individual property levies collected to the IDB as a single payment known as the Special Levy¹.
Today payment now forms part of the council tax across the local authority area rather than just the properties within the Internal Drainage District
Agricultural use includes uses such as pony paddocks, private fishing lakes, woodlands etc. To be rated the land does not need to be used as part of an agricultural business. The land use is therefor still registered as agricultural. If you are able to provide written proof that:
- the land use has been changed, or
- that the land was sold to you as a garden free from any agricultural restrictions, or
- that the parcels of land are included in your council tax assessment
We would be able to update our records. If however, you are unable to provide this proof then annual Drainage rates will continue to be payable.
Rates are charged irrespective of whether you do or do not have watercourses on your land. Rates are charged because your property is in the Bedford Group of Internal Drainage Boards’ District and the Board manages the arterial protection of the District.
The principal responsibility usually lies with the owner of the land adjoining the watercourse. If a channel is marked as a Bedford Group drain the Board’s Byelaws will apply and the Board will often undertake required works. However, under the Land Drainage Act 1991 the Board is enabled but not required to undertake drainage works.
Immediately on receipt.
At present, we accept cash, cheque, card payments and bank transfer. Our account details can be found on your rate demand letter.
All properties within a Drainage District are deemed to derive benefit from the activities of an IDB. Every property is therefore subject to a Drainage Rate paid annually to the Board.
For the purposes of rating, properties are divided into a) Agricultural Land and Buildings (including pony paddocks, private fishing lakes, woodlands etc) and b) Other Land (such as domestic homes and gardens, businesses, retail outlets, amenities etc). Only occupiers of category a) property pay drainage rates direct to the Board. Rates associated with “Other Land” are covered by “Special Levy” paid by Local Councils who in turn recover the majority of this charge from Central Government.
The calculation of the rates is based on the assessment of the “Annual Value” of a parcel of land or agricultural building. The Annual value is an amount equal to the yearly rent that might reasonably have been expected if the property had been let on a yearly tenancy on 1 April 1988.
Each year the Board sets a rate “in the £” to meet its estimated expenditure. This is multiplied by the Annual Value to produce the amount of Drainage Rate due on each Assessment. A breakdown of the rate in the £ is shown on the reverse of the Demand Note to show how money is apportioned.
As occupiers of agricultural property these rates are payable in areas where special local measures are needed to manage flood risk. Maintenance, improvement or new works to watercourses or structures are managed in the District by the Board and rates are levied to meet expenses.
Immediately or as soon as possible after receipt of the drainage rate notice. Please email email@example.com
Rate demands are sent in April and should be paid immediately. If you have failed to pay a reminder will be sent in July. If you still fail to pay the debt will be taken to the Magistrates Court and court costs will be added to your account.
Under Section 49 of The Land Drainage Act 1991 anyone in occupation of land for any part of a financial year (1 April – 31 March) can be required to pay rates for the whole of that year. However, they then have the right to recover a proportionate part of the rates paid from anyone else who has occupied the land during that year. Your solicitor should have attended to this as part of the sale transaction and the Board notified.
A formal letter/written confirmation will be required as soon as possible from a suitably qualified professional eg solicitor or surveyor, or evidence of the transaction itself eg sight of Land Certificate or Lease. To enable us to easily identify the land please ensure a plan is included and email firstname.lastname@example.org
An invasive species is a species that is not native to a specific location (an introduced species), and that has a tendency to spread to a degree believed to cause damage to the environment, human economy or human health.
Yes, we do have a few sites that we are aware of and try to prevent their spread.
The problems in our area are Floating Pennywort and Japanese Knotweed.
Further information on these species can be found at www.nonnativespecies.org
Elections for membership of the Board are held every 3 years, you have the opportunity to shape the work of the Board, either by exercising your vote as a ratepayer or if eligible standing for election yourself.
The next election of members will take place for the following Boards in:
- Bedfordshire and River Ivel Board – Autumn 2024
- Buckingham and River Ouzel Board – Autumn 2023
- Alconbury and Ellington Board – Autumn 2023
The Alconbury and Ellington Board has 12 elected members.
The Bedfordshire and River Ivel Board has 12 elected members.
The Buckingham and Ouzel Board has 12 elected members
If we receive more valid nominations than there are places for any electoral division, a poll for the election in those divisions will take place between 24 October 2023 and 1 November 2023. The exact date of the election, should a poll be required, will be published on our Public Notices webpage between 7 and 15 September 2023.
Please visit our Board Membership web page to identify your existing representative.
To stand for election you will either be an eligible Drainage Ratepayer, or you will be nominated by a landowner who pays Drainage Rates. Full details regarding qualification for membership and nominating candidates are included in the Land Drainage Act 1991, summarised on the nomination paper, which can be obtained from the Drainage Board office. Please note that your nomination paper must be validly completed and returned to us by the published deadline. This date will be published on our Public Notices webpage.
If the number of candidates exceeds the number of places available, a poll will be held. You will be entitled to vote in every electoral division that you’re liable to pay Drainage Rates in, providing you’ve actually paid your Drainage Rates as demanded and your entitlement is shown in the Register of Electors. This public register will be available for inspection at the Boards office in an election year from April onwards. Notice of this will be given on our Public Notices webpage and you will also have the opportunity to request that any errors or omissions in the Register are corrected before the Election. You will be sent a Voting Paper at least 7 days before the poll, which you’ll need to complete and return to the Boards office before the poll takes place.
If a poll is required, the count will take place at the Boards office for those electoral divisions being contested on the election date and may be observed by an independent solicitor. Candidates and members of the public are also welcome to observe the count, subject to the usual security checks. The results will then be published on our Public Notices webpage. Where the election of members is not contested a ‘no poll declaration’ will also be published on our Public Notices webpage, shortly after the deadline for receiving nomination papers. The declaration will list the elected members who’ve been returned unopposed. Please note that the Board will not publish election notices in the local press, following receipt of the Ministerial Direction on publishing election notices on 27 April 2016.
If we do not receive at least the same number of valid nominations as there are places for any electoral division, the shortfall will be made up by reappointing the required number from the retiring members for the division, as per Regulation 17 of the Land Drainage (Election of Drainage Boards) Regulations, 1938 (SI 1938 No.558). However, if one or more of the retiring members is unable to be reappointed for any reason whatsoever or the Returning Officer is compelled to re-elect one or more of the retiring members by lot, the Returning Officer will request the Board to fill the vacancies at the earliest opportunity after the Election and consider reconstituting to reduce the number of members, in accordance with its Election of Members Policy.
The Bedford Group of Drainage Boards do not own any watercourses. Please use the following link to determine who owns a watercourse. https://www.gov.uk/guidance/owning-a-watercourse
If you own the watercourse you have a riparian responsibility to maintain the stretch of watercourse. Please use the following link to establish your responsibilities. https://www.gov.uk/guidance/owning-a-watercourse#owners-your-responsibilities
As the Board is not a landowner, it has no responsibility for this.
The landowner of the land from which the tree is growing is responsible for the removal of fallen trees and the felling of dangerous trees / branches.
Occasionally a casual vacancy may arise when an elected member resigns or otherwise vacates their office. When this happens the Board will co-opt a member to fill the vacancy, in accordance with its Election of Members Policy.