Rates FAQs

1. What are drainage rates?

Drainage rates are levied as a charge (at a rate of Xp in the £1) on agricultural properties in an internal drainage district.  The rates are levied to pay for the special local drainage or flood protection works which are carried out by the internal drainage board of that district.  The value on which rates are set basically represents 1991 land rental levels.

2. Why have I got to pay drainage rates?

These rates are payable because you occupy agricultural property within an internal drainage district.  These districts are areas where special local measures are needed to properly manage flood risk.  These measures, involving maintenance, improvement or new works to watercourses or structures are managed by an internal drainage board and these boards levy rates on occupiers of property to meet their expenses.

3. I don’t get a drainage rate bill for my house

Properties which are not used for agricultural purposes (as defined in the Local Government Finance Act 1988) do not receive a direct drainage rate demand.  Rates are however, effectively charged on these properties through the Special Levy issued to the local authority.

4. My land is not used for agriculture

Agricultural use includes uses such as for paddocks and, to be rated, the land does not need to be used as part of an agricultural business.  If however, you still feel that your land is not used for agriculture please contact the Rates Office, who will arrange an inspection.

5. Why are you charging me rates? I have no watercourses on my land.

Rates are payable because your property is in an internal drainage district and they meet the costs of the arterial protection provided by the Board of that district.  They are not charged because you do, or do not, have watercourses on your land.

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

The primary responsibility for the maintenance of any watercourse rests with the owner of that watercourse.  This will USUALLY be the owner of the land adjoining that watercourse.  Where a channel is marked as an IDB drain, that Board’s byelaws apply to it and the Board will often undertake required drainage works.  The Land Drainage Act 1991, under which the Boards operate, however, enables them BUT DOES NOT REQUIRE THEM to carry out drainage works.

7. What methods of payment are there?

At present, we accept payment by cash, cheque, bank transfer and debit card only (no credit cards).

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

If this is the case please inform the Board immediately to discuss alternatives.

9. I have been sent a payment reminder what happens next?

If the Board sends  you a reminder and there is still no payment received it might take you to court. If this happens Court fees will be added to your bill.

10. I have a query on my rate demand, what do I need to do?

Any queries to the land you have been charged for need to be made as soon as possible once you receive the rate demand. Changes can then be made and a revised bill sent out to you. In most cases proof of the purchasing or selling of land will need to be provided to ensure the right person is invoiced correctly. This might be in the form of land registry details or planning application references etc.

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

Section 49 of the Land Drainage Act 1991 provides that anyone in occupation of land for any part of a year 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.  By ‘year’ we mean the financial year, running from 1st April to 31st March.  Your solicitor should have attended to this as part of the sale transaction.

12. I only bought my land/became tenant of this land a few months ago, why are you charging me a full year’s rates?

See question 11 above.

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

We will need either a formal letter from a suitably qualified professional eg solicitor or surveyor or evidence of the transaction itself eg sight of Land Certificate or Lease.