MIDDLE FEN & MERE BYELAWS
THE MIDDLE FEN AND MERE INTERNAL DRAINAGE BOARD UNDER AND BY VIRTUE OF THE POWERS AND AUTHORITY VESTED IN THEM BY SECTION 34 OF THE LAND DRAINAGE ACT 1976, DO MAKE THE FOLLOWING BYELAWS WHICH ARE CONSIDERED NECESSARY FOR SECURING THE EFFICIENT WORKING OF THE DRAINAGE SYSTEM IN THEIR DISTRICT:-
1. Commencement of Byelaws
These Byelaws shall come into operation at the expiration of one month beginning with the day on which they are confirmed by the Minister.
2. Application of Byelaws
(a) These Byelaws shall have effect within the District;
(b) the watercourses referred to in these Byelaws (other than Byelaws 3, 4 and 9) are watercourses which are for the time being vested in or under the control of the Board.
3. Control of Introduction of Water and Increase in Flow or Volume of Water
No person shall, without the previous consent of the Board, for any purpose, by means of any channel, siphon, pipeline or sluice or by any other means whatsoever, introduce any water into the District or, whether directly or indirectly, increase the flow or volume of water in any watercourse in the District.
4. Control of Sluices etc.
Any person having control of any sluice, slacker, floodgate, lock, weir, dam, pump, pumping machinery or other structure or appliance for introducing water into any watercourse in the District or for controlling or regulating or affecting the flow of water in, into or out of any watercourse shall use and maintain such sluice, slacker, floodgate, lock, weir, dam, pump, pumping machinery, structure or appliance in accordance with such reasonable directions as may from time to time be given by the Board with a view to the prevention of flooding or any shortage in the flow or supply of water and to the efficient working of the drainage system in the District.
5. Fishing Nets and Angling
No person shall angle or set any nets or engines for the catching or keeping of fish in any watercourse in such a manner as to cause damage to or endanger the stability of the bank of the watercourse or to affect or impede the flow of water.
In this byelaw "nets" includes:-
(a) a stake net, bag net or keep net;
(b) any net secured by anchors and any net or other implement for taking fish fixed to the soil or made stationary in any other way;
(c) any net placed or suspended in any inland or tidal waters unattended by the owner or a person duly authorised by the owner to use it for fish, and any engine, device ' machine or contrivance, whether floating or otherwise, for placing or suspending such a net or maintaining it in working order or making it stationary.
6. Diversion or Stopping up of Watercourses
No person shall, without the previous consent of the Board, take any action, or knowingly permit or aid or abet any person to take any action to stop up any watercourse or divert or impede or alter tile level of or direction of the flow of water in, into or out of any watercourse.
7. Detrimental Substances not to be put into Watercourses
No person shall, so as directly or indirectly to obstruct, impede or interfere with the flow of water in, into or out of any watercourse or so as to damage the bank:-
(a) discharge or put or cause or permit to be discharged or put or negligently or wilfully cause or permit to fall into any watercourse any object or matter of any kind whatsoever whether solid or liquid;
(b) allow any such object or matter as is referred to in sub-paragraph (a) of this Byelaw to remain in proximity to any watercourse in such manner as to render the same liable to drift or fall or be carried into any watercourse.
Provided that nothing in this Byelaw shall be deemed to render unlawful the growing or harvesting of crops in accordance with normal agricultural practice.
8. Lighting of Fires
No person shall light or cause or permit to be lighted or commit any action liable to cause to be lighted any fire on any land adjoining the watercourse where such action is liable to set on fire the peat land forming the banks of the watercourse or any trees, willows, shrubs, weeds, grasses or any other vegetable growths growing on land forming the banks of the watercourse.
9. Notice to Cut Vegetable Growths
Any person having control of any watercourse shall, upon the receipt of a notice served on him by the Board requiring him so to do, cut down and keep cut down all trees, willows, shrubs, weeds, grasses, reeds, rushes or other vegetable growths growing in or on the bank of a watercourse, within such reasonable time as may be specified in the notice, and shall remove such trees, willows, shrubs, weeds, grasses, reeds, rushes or other vegetable growth from the watercourse immediately after the cutting thereof.
Provided that, where a hedge is growing on the bank of a watercourse, nothing in this Byelaw shall require more than the pruning of the hedge so as to prevent it from growing over or into the watercourse, and the removal of the resultant cuttings.
10. Occupiers not to sow or plant land after notice of intention to cleanse watercourses is served
After receipt of a Notice from the Board that they have arranged for a watercourse to be cleaned our or improved within the following nine months, no occupier of land through which such watercourse runs or land abutting on such watercourse shall, without the previous written consent of the Board, sow or plant any such land within 9 metres from the edge of the watercourse during the period specified in the notice such period not being greater than nine months from the date of the notice.
11. No Obstructions within 9 Metres of the Edge of the Watercourse
No person without the previous consent of the Board shall erect any building or structure, whether temporary or permanent, or plant any tree, shrub, willow or other similar growth within 9 metres of the landward toe of the bank where there is an embankment or wall or within 9 metres of the top of the batter where there is no embankment or wall, or where the watercourse is enclosed within 9 metres of the enclosing structure.
12. Repairs to Buildings
The owner of any building or structure in or over a water-course or on the banks thereof shall, upon receipt of a notice from the Board that because of its state of disrepair:-
(a) the building or structure is causing or is in imminent danger of causing an obstruction to the flow of the watercourse, or
(b) the building or structure is causing or is in imminent danger of causing damage to the bank of the watercourse,
carry out such reasonable and practicable works as are specified in the notice for the purpose of remedying or preventing the obstruction or damage as the case may be within such reasonable time as is specified in the notice.
13. Control of Vermin
The occupier of any bank of a watercourse or any part thereof shall, upon being required by the Board by notice, within such reasonable time as may therein be specified, take such steps as are specified in the notice, being such steps as the Board consider necessary and practicable for preventing the bank from becoming infested by rabbits, rats, coypu, foxes and moles or any other wild animal not being an animal listed in Schedule 5 or Schedule 6 to the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, but excluding the water vole from such control.
14. Damage by Animals to Banks
All persons using or causing or permitting to be used any bank of any watercourse for the purpose of grazing or keeping any animal thereon shall take such steps including fencing as are necessary and reasonably practicable and shall comply with such reasonable directions as may from time to time be given by the Board to prevent the bank or the channel of the watercourse from being damaged by such use.
Provided that nothing in this Byelaw shall be deemed to affect or prevent the use of, for the purpose of enabling animals to drink at it, any place made or to be made or constructed as approved by the Board.
15. Vehicles not to be Driven on Banks
No person shall use or drive or permit or cause to be used or driven any cart, vehicle or implement of any kind whatsoever on, over or along any bank of a watercourse or any flood or cross bank belonging to or erected by or under the control of the Board in such manner as to cause damage to such bank.
16. Banks not to be Used for Storage
No person shall use or cause or permit to be used any bank of any watercourse for the purpose of depositing or stacking or storing or keeping any rubbish or goods or any material or things thereon in such a manner as by reason of the weight, volume or nature of such rubbish, goods, material or things causes or is likely to cause damage to or endanger the stability of the bank or channel of the watercourse or interfere with the operations or access of the Board or the right of the Board to deposit spoil on the bank of the watercourse.
17. Not to Dredge or Raise Gravel, Sand etc.
No person shall without the previous consent of the Board dredge or raise or take or cause or permit to be dredged or raised or taken any gravel, sand, ballast, clay or other material from the bed or bank of any watercourse.
18. Fences, Excavations, Pipes, etc.
No person shall without the previous consent of the Board:-
(a) place or affix or cause or permit to be placed or affixed any gas or water main or any pipe or appliance whatsoever or any electrical main or cable or wire in or over any watercourse or in, over or through any bank of any watercourse;
(b) cut, pare, damage or remove or cause or permit to be cut, pared, damaged or removed any turf forming part of any bank of any watercourse, or dig for or remove or cause or permit to be dug for or removed any stone, gravel, clay, earth, timber or other material whatsoever forming part of any bank of any watercourse or do or cause or permit to be done anything in, to or upon such bank or any land adjoining such bank of such a nature as to cause damage to or endanger the stability of the bank;
(c) make or cut or cause or permit to be made or cut any excavation or any tunnel or any drain, culvert or other passage for water in, into or out of any watercourse or in or through any bank of any watercourse;
(d) erect or construct or cause or permit to be erected or constructed any fence, post, pylon, wall, wharf, jetty, pier, quay, bridge, loading stage, piling, groyne, revetment or any other building or structure whatsoever in, over or across any watercourse or in or on any bank thereof;
(e) place or fix or cause or permit to be placed or fixed any engine or mechanical contrivance whatsoever in, under or over any watercourse or in, over or on any bank of any watercourse in such a manner or for such length of time as to cause damage to the watercourse or banks thereof or obstruct the flow of water in, into or out of such watercourse.
Provided that this Byelaw shall not apply to any temporary work executed in an emergency but a person executing any work so excepted shall, as soon as practicable, inform the Board in writing of the execution and of the circumstances in which it was executed and comply with any directions the Board may give with regard thereto.
19. Interference with Sluices
No person shall without lawful authority interfere with any sluice, slacker, floodgate, lock, weir, dam, pump, pumping machinery or any other structure or appliance for controlling or regulating the flow of water in, into or out of a watercourse.
20. Mooring of Vessels
No person shall moor or place any vessel in any watercourse or to or upon the bank of any watercourse in such manner or by such method as to cause or be likely to cause injury to such bank or in such manner as materially to obstruct or impede the free flow of water in, into or out of any watercourse.
21. Unattended Vessels
No person shall leave any vessel unattended without taking due care to prevent such vessel from materially obstructing or impeding the free flow of water in, into or out of any watercourse or any sluice in any bank.
22. Removal of Sunken Vessels
No person who is the owner of a vessel sunk, stranded, damaged or adrift in a watercourse or, in the case of a sunken vessel which is abandoned, who was the owner immediately before the abandonment shall, after ten days from the day on which the Board serves on him notice in writing that the vessel is causing obstruction, permit the vessel to remain in the watercourse in such a manner as to impede or harmfully divert the flow of water in, into or out of the watercourse.
23. Navigation of Vessels
No person shall navigate any vessels in such a manner or at such a speed as to injure the bank of any watercourse and where the Board have by notice erected at any place limited the speed of vessels passing such place no person shall navigate a vessel at a speed over the bed of the watercourse greater than the speed so limited.
24. Damage to Property of the Board
No person shall interfere with or damage any bank, bridge, building, structure, appliance or other property of or under the control of the Board.
25. Defacement of Notice Boards
No person shall deface or remove any notice board, notice or placard put up by the Board.
26. Obstruction of the Board and Officers
No person shall obstruct or interfere with any member, officer, agent or servant of the Board exercising any of his functions under the Act or these Byelaws.
27. Savings for Other Bodies
Nothing in these Byelaws shall:-
(a) conflict with or intervene with the operation of any Byelaw made by the National Rivers Authority or of any navigation, harbour or conservancy authority but no person shall be liable to more than one penalty or in the case of a continuing offence more than one daily penalty in respect of the same offence;
(b) restrict, prevent, interfere with or prejudice the exercise of any statutory rights or powers which are now or hereafter may be vested in or exercised by:-
(i) any public utility undertaking carried on by a local authority under any Act or under any Order having the force of an Act;
(ii) the undertakings of the National Rivers Authority and of any water undertaker or sewerage undertaker;
(iii) British Gas plc;
(iv) the Central Electricity Generating Board or any Area Board established under the Electricity Act 1947;
(v) any navigation, harbour or conservancy authority;
(vi) the British Railways Board with respect to the construction, use or maintenance and repair of any railway property or so as to interfere with the free, uninterrupted and safe use of any railway of the British Railways Board and the traffic thereon and the use by passengers of railway property;
(vii) any local authority;
(viii) any highway authority for the purposes of the Highways Act 1980 (as amended by any subsequent enactment) in relation to any highway whether or not maintainable at public expense;
(ix) the Post Office;
(x) any undertaking engaged in the operation of a telecommunications system;
(xi) the British Airports Authority;
(xii) the Civil Aviation Authority;
(xiii) the British Waterway Board;
(xiv) the British Coal Corporation;
(c) restrict, prevent, interfere with or prejudice any right of a highway authority to introduce into any watercourse surface water from a highway, for which it is the highway authority;
(d) affect any liability arising otherwise than under or by reason of these Byelaws.
28. Saving for Crown Lands
Nothing in these Byelaws shall operate to prevent the removal of any substance on, in or under (or the erection of any structure, building or machinery or any cable, wire or pipe on, over or under) lands belonging to Her Majesty in the right of the Crown by any person thereunto authorised by the Crown Estate Commissioners.
(a) Where by or under Byelaws 4, 9, 12, 13, 14 and 18, any person is required by a notice in writing given by the Board to do any work to the satisfaction of the Board or to comply with any directions of the Board, he may within 21 days after the service of such notice on him give to the Board a counter-notice in writing objecting to either the reasonableness of or the necessity for such requirement or directions, and in default of agreement between such person and the Board the dispute shall, when the person upon whom such notice was served is a drainage or local authority be referred to the Minister whose decision shall be final, and in any other case shall be referred to the arbitration of a single arbitrator to be appointed in default of agreement by the President of the Institution of Civil Engineers on the application of either party. Where such a counternotice has been given to the Board the operation of the notice shall be suspended until either agreement has been reached or the dispute has been determined by arbitration in accordance with the provisions of this Byelaw;
(b) where by or under these Byelaws any person is required by a notice in writing given by the Board to do any work to the satisfaction of the Board or to comply with any directions of the Board and any dispute subsequently arises as to whether such work has been executed or such directions have been complied with, such dispute if it arises between a drainage authority or local authority and the Board shall be referred to the Minister whose decision shall be final, and in any other case shall be referred to the arbitration of a single arbitrator to be appointed in default of agreement by the President of the Institution of Civil Engineers on the application of either party;
(c) where by or under Byelaws 3, 6, 10, 11, 17 and 18 any person is required to refrain from doing any act without the consent of the Board such consent shall not be unreasonably withheld and may be either unconditional or subject to such reasonable conditions as the Board may consider appropriate and where any dispute arises as to whether in such a case the consent of the Board is being unreasonably withheld, or as to whether any conditions subject to which consent is granted are unreasonable, such dispute shall if it arises between a drainage authority or local authority and the Board be referred to the Minister whose decision shall be final, and in any other case such dispute shall be referred to the arbitration of a single arbitrator to be appointed in default of agreement by the President of the Institution of Civil Engineers on the application of either party.
Notices and any other documents required or authorised to be served or given under or by virtue of these Byelaws shall be served or given in the manner prescribed by section 108 of the Act.
Nothing in these Byelaws shall authorise the Board to require any person to do any act, the doing of which is not necessary for securing the efficient working of the drainage system of the District or to refrain from doing any act, the doing of which does not adversely affect the efficient working of the drainage system of the District.
If any conflict arises between these Byelaws and section 8 of the Water Act 1989 (which relates to the Board’s duties with regard to the protection of the environment, nature conservation and amenity), the said Act shall prevail.
The Byelaws made by the Middle Fen and Mere Internal Drainage Board of 2nd day of June 1971 are hereby revoked.
In these Byelaws, unless the context otherwise requires, the following expressions shall have the meaning hereby respectively assigned to them, that is to say:-
“the Act" means the Land Drainage Act 1976;
"Animal" includes any horse, cattle, sheep, deer, goat, swine, goose or poultry;
"Bank" includes any bank, cross bank, wall or embankment adjoining or confining or constructed for the purpose of or in connection with any watercourse and includes all land between the bank and the low water mark or level of the water in the watercourse as the case may be and where there is no such bank, cross bank, wall or embankment includes the top edge of the batter enclosing the watercourse;
"Board" means the Middle Fen and Mere IDB;
"Consent of the Board" means the consent of the Board in writing signed by the Clerk for the time being of the Board or other duly authorised officer;
"District" means the area under the jurisdiction of the Board;
"The Minister" means the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food;
"Occupier" means in the case of land not occupied by any tenant or other person the person entitled to the occupation thereof;
"Owner" includes the person defined as such in the Public Health Act 1936;
"Railway Property" means any railway of the British Railways Board and any bridges and works connected therewith or forming part thereof for the maintenance or operation of which the said British Railways Board are responsible and includes any land held or used by the British Railways Board for the purposes of such railway bridges or works;
"Vessel" includes any ship, hovercraft (as defined by the Hovercraft Act 1968), lighter, keel, barge, tug, launch, houseboat, pleasure or other boat, aircraft, randan, wherry, skiff, dinghy, shallop, punt, yacht, canoe, raft, float of timber or any other craft whatsoever, and howsoever worked, navigated or propelled;
and other expressions shall have the same meanings as in the Act.
THE COMMON SEAL of the MIDDLE FEN AND MERE INTERNAL DRAINAGE BOARD was hereunto affixed on the 30th Day of March 1989 in the presence of:
By Section 34(4) of the Act every person who acts in contravention of or fails to comply with any of the foregoing Byelaws is liable on summary conviction in respect of each offence to a fine not exceeding the amount prescribed from time to time for level 5 on the standard scale referred to in Section 37 of the Criminal Justice Act 1982 (Two thousand pounds) and a further fine not exceeding Forty pounds for every day on which the contravention or failure is continued after conviction. By Section 34(5) of the Act if any person acts in contravention of or fails to comply with any of these Byelaws the Board may without prejudice to any proceedings under Section 34(4) of the Act take such action as may be necessary to remedy the effect of the contravention or failure and may recover the expenses reasonably incurred by it in doing so from the person in default.