From the Environment Agency
We have a maintenance programme for main rivers in
the catchment that is funded by a combination of government grant and local
flood funding raised via the Anglian (Great Ouse) Regional Flood & Coastal
Committee. The programme is available online:
The main watercourses are the Great Ouse which passes the outskirts of St Ives at The Waits, before separating into the second channel The Chubb Stream at The Quay/Wellington Street. The third channel is the Parsons Drove which runs parallel to the Somersham Road, through the Harrison Way retail and industrial estate and then onto Holywell. Both the second & third channels re-join the Great Ouse further downstream.
The Environment Agency has permissive powers, but not a duty, to carry out maintenance, improvement or construction work on designated main rivers for flood risk management.
The responsibility for maintaining a watercourse usually lies with the riparian owner, the person who owns the land on each bank. Information can be found on our web site here https://www.gov.uk/guidance/owning-a-watercourse
All other open water courses in England are determined by statute as an ‘ordinary watercourse’. On these watercourses the Lead Local flood Authority or, if within an Internal Drainage District, the Internal Drainage Board have similar permissive powers to maintain and improve.
In regards of the St Ives Main Rivers they are inspected on an annual basis where they pass through St Ives. We also periodically inspect all flood defences, such as the St Ives and Hemingfords Flood Alleviation Scheme and any control structures, for example the St Ives Sluices.
We asses all reports of blockages, obstructions and any other incidents on Main Rivers and take appropriate action. At present I cannot provide an up-to-date summary of the number of issues affecting St Ives as we have been receiving reports on a daily basis since Christmas but we have carried out removals of obstructions in the St Ives area before, during and after the Christmas period.
We will be carrying out full post event inspections over and above the annual visits as soon as weather conditions permit in order to determine what works may be required throughout the Great Ouse catchment which naturally includes St Ives. We will also be collating flood data and reviewing our flood warning procedures. We will be working with partners and flooded communities to understand the full extent of the flooding in order to identify what actions need to be taken to manage flood risk and help communities become more resilient. Recovery will take time, particularly given the current Covid19 situation.
Please refer to the Open Government Licence available here: http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/open-government-licence/version/3/ which explains the permitted use of this information.