Have a question? Look through our frequently asked questions for an answer.

Why don’t I get a drainage rate bill for my house?

As defined in the Local Government Finance Act 1988, properties which are not used for agricultural purposes will not receive a drainage rate demand. However, rates are charged on these properties through the Special Levy payable by the Local Authority.

Why am I being charged rates when my land is not used for agriculture?

As agricultural use includes uses such as paddocks, to be rated the land does not need to be used as part of an agricultural business.

Why are you charging me rates when I have no watercourse on my land.

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 Swale & Ure Drainage District and the Board manages the arterial protection of the District.

Who is responsible for maintaining the watercourses running through my land?

The principal responsibility usually lies with the owner of the land adjoining the watercourse. If a channel is marked as a Swale & Ure 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.

When are my drainage rates due for payment?

Immediately on receipt.

What method of payments are there?

At present, we accept cash, cheque, card payments and bank transfer. Our account details can be found on your rate demand letter.

What are drainage rates?

In an Internal Drainage District, drainage rates are levied on agricultural properties at a rate of X in the £ which is assessed annually. The rates collected pay for special local drainage or flood protection works carried out by the Swale & Ure Drainage Board.

Why have I got to pay drainage rates?

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.

I am likely to have a problem in paying my rates. By when do I need to advise you of this?

Immediately or as soon as possible after receipt of the drainage rate notice.

Why have I been charged a penalty?

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.

I sold my land some months ago. Why are you charging me a full year’s rates?

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.

I have sold/given up my land. What evidence of this will you need to alter your records?

A formal letter 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.

I have a fishing licence: doesn’t that allow me to fish anywhere?

No. It is only a licence to fish, not a permission to fish.

What are invasive species?

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.

Are invasive species a problem in the Swale & Ure Drainage Board’s area?

Yes, we do have a few sites that we are aware of and try to prevent their spread.

Which species are these?

The problems in our area are Floating Pennywort and Japanese Knotweed.

How can I identify these species?

Further information on these species can be found at www.nonnativespecies.org

What should I do if I spot any of these on an IDB watercourse?

Please contact us with location and the invasive species identified and the Board Officers will investigate.

I want to abstract water, how do I go about this?

Licenses for abstraction and impoundment are issued by the Environment Agency. It is an offence to abstract or impound water without a licence.

I am buying/renting land near an IDB watercourse: will I be able to irrigate?

The Board cannot guarantee that you will be able to have water to irrigate. If you speak to our Chief Engineer he will be able to advise you further.

There is weed growth in the IDB watercourse and I cannot get water, will the IDB clear this?

This is dependent upon the watercourse maintenance schedule and no guarantee can be given that weed growth will be cleared to coincide with irrigation demands.

Developer Guidance

Please see here.

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