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Beavers can give engineers a run for their money any day

I read with interest John McKenna's report on flooding. To paraphrase 'a local authority, best placed to coordinate local stakeholders' and 'coordination at a national level'.

Could the answer be the humble Internal Drainage Board (IDB) – a local operating authority with a primary focus on flood-risk management and land drainage. They are governed by a board of local councillors and elected members with national direction as set out by the Land Drainage Act.

The Bedford group of drainage boards led the preparation of the Marston Vale surface waters plan. The plan was prepared by local stakeholders to align aspirations for growth area development and the function of flood-risk management.

It is a policy adopted by developers and planners for strategic flood-risk management. The success of the plan is being reviewed as one of the Department for Environment, Farming and Rural Affair's Integrated Urban Drainage studies.

The key to success is that the board recognises its skills, resources and powers. It led by forming a working group of local stakeholders who prepared a surface water strategy to guide and direct developers and planners.

Leadership from the IDB continued throughout the implementation of the infrastructure and post-development it continues its commitment to the local community by adopting the flood-risk management assets to ensure long-term maintenance.

This example of leadership and ownership from cradle to grave is a model of best practice which should be adopted by all operating authorities.

JOHN OLDFIELD (M), engineer of the board, Bedford Group of Drainage Boards,

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