The Environment Agency will be writing to landowners in the Alt Crossens area to confirm they will continue to operate pumping stations that manage water levels in the area while an alternative arrangement is developed.
The current notices on Banks Marsh, Boundary Brook, Clay Brow, Kew and Rufford pumping stations have been extended until the end of March 2023.
The Environment Agency want to strengthen local decision making around flood risk management by ensuring the right bodies are managing the right watercourses.
During this period, work will continue on finding an alternative way of managing water levels that is environmentally and economically sustainable.
Councillor David Evans, West Lancashire Borough Council portfolio holder for Planning, said: "This is good news for the farmers in this catchment area, which includes a significant proportion of the western part of the West Lancashire Borough, the majority of Ormskirk, western parts of Burscough and Banks. This extra time will hopefully give everyone involved the chance to come up with a long-term solution."
Ruth Forrester, Senior Advisor at the Environment Agency said: “We continue to discuss the impact of our decision with the communities and organisations affected in the area and look forward to developing those conversations as all options become available for consideration.
“A suitable arrangement for Alt Crossens will take some time to establish and will need input from a wide range of organisations and individuals to ensure the needs of the community, economy and environment are met. We would like to thank these organisations and individuals for their input so far, and look forward to working together in the future.”
NFU North West Regional Director David Hall said: “The NFU in the North West welcomes the Environment Agency’s decision to continue operating the pumping stations in Alt Crossens until 2023. This time should now be used to find an effective solution for water management in the area. The NFU has lobbied Government Minsters, MPs and the Environment Agency to ensure the Environment Bill contains the legislative change required to allow all options for water management to be considered and that there is sufficient funding to carry out effective maintenance in the area.
“We look forward to working with farmers, fellow stakeholders and elected representatives to ensure this highly productive patch of Lancashire can successfully continue providing food for the nation.”
CLA North Rural Surveyor Robert Frewen, who has lobbied the Environment Agency and local MPs for extending operation of drainage pumps in the North West (Lancashire) said: “Following our continuous and combined efforts, I welcome the decision to extending the continued operation of drainage pumps in the North West. It is vital to drain agricultural land, especially with more frequent incidences of high rainfall over the last few years.”
“We look forward to continue working with our partners, local MPs, landowners and the Environment Agency towards setting up a workable solution. Elsewhere in the country established Internal Drainage Boards are working very well, and a model to consider in the region. In addition, it’s crucial that there’s still long-term funding for maintenance of existing flood defence assets, including ring-fenced funding for protection of agricultural land.”