Rationalising the main river network: National Overview

Overall we are supportive of the proposed de-maining as laid out in the consultation. We believe that where circumstances are appropriate and flood risk is low, organisations such as Internal Drainage Boards often have superior local knowledge and are best placed to plan and carry out maintenance activities along rivers. This move will also allow local people to prioritise maintenance work in their areas as opposed to solely being subject to limited national funding which is awarded on a need-basis. While we are against any additional costs being transferred from the Environment Agency to local organisations, we are confident from the consultation document and supporting information that this will not occur as part of the proposed de-maining.

Wildlife Licence Charges

The CLA have responded to an England only consultation on introducing charges when applying for a licence for managing European Protected Species.  The stated purpose of introducing charges is to improve the quality of service for customers applying for a licence.

National Policy Statement for Water Resources

The CLA broadly supports the consultation proposal to create a National Policy Statement for Water Resources as a means of increasing the rate of water infrastructure developments as well as the proposed principles which will guide the writing of the National Policy Statement.  The CLA argues however, that a push for water resilience must target more than just public water supply resilience and must take into account both agricultural and environmental resilience in relation to water resources.  All water users are interdependent and greater resilience is needed in the sector - but this should be done in a way which recognises the holistic nature in which water resources are used by stakeholders and addresses the need to facilitate greater water resilience in the agriculture sector.

GN35-17 Heritage and other farm buildings: The conversion of farm buildings to new uses

This Guidance Note gives strategic and design advice on developing proposals and getting consent for the adaptation of farm buildings to residential and other new uses, either by using the 2013-15 permitted development/prior approval schemes, or by making conventional planning applications based on the improved planning policy in the National Planning Policy Framework and improved (2017) Historic England advice.  In the former case, it is designed to be read with the two separate CLA Guidance Notes on the Class Q/R prior approval schemes.  Although not written for Wales, where both policies and permitted development are very different, it should be of help there too.

Its intention is to help members maximise their chances of getting consent for sympathetic conversions, to help to solve the continuing problem of hundreds of thousands of farm buildings in decay, and thus indirectly to encourage conversion-resistant local authorities to see the substantial benefits of sympathetic conversion.

Drinking Water Regulations 2017

DEFRA has consulted on various changes to the Drinking Water Regulations.  The CLA has responded expressing concerns about the additional costs that could be imposed on the owners of private supplies and has urged firstly that any changes be proportionate to the potential problem and secondly that local authorities are subject to an obligation to keep them to a minimum.

GN28-17 Environmental Impact Assessment and Common Land - England only

Previously those in England who wished to undertake certain works on common land were required to meet the requirements of section 38 of the Commons Act 2006 only.  As of the 16 May 2017, an additional, more comprehensive assessment, referred to as an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is now required.  This note developed with Natural England and Defra explains the changes and summarises their implications.

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