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(1)The [F1Agency] may, for the purpose of securing—
(a)the efficient working and maintenance of existing drainage works; and
(b)the construction of such new drainage works as may be necessary,
give such general or special directions as it considers reasonable for the guidance of the internal drainage boards with respect to the exercise and performance by those boards of their powers and duties as such.
(2)Without prejudice to subsection (1) above, an internal drainage board shall not—
(a)except with the consent of the [F1Agency], construct any drainage works or alter any existing drainage works, if the construction or alteration will in any way affect the interests of, or the working of any drainage works belonging to, any other drainage board; or
(b)otherwise than by way of maintaining an existing work, construct or alter any structure, appliance or channel for the discharge of water from their district into a main river except on such terms as may be agreed between the [F1Agency] and the internal drainage board or, in default of agreement, be determined by the relevant Minister.
(3)The consent of the [F1Agency] for the purposes of subsection (2)(a) above shall not be unreasonably withheld and may be given subject to reasonable conditions.
(4)If an internal drainage board acts in contravention of subsection (2) above, the [F1Agency] shall—
(a)have power itself to carry out and maintain any works and do any things which are, in its opinion, necessary in order to prevent or remedy any damage which may result, or has resulted, from the action of the internal drainage board; and
(b)be entitled to recover from that board the amount of any expenses reasonably incurred by the [F1Agency] in the exercise of that power.
(5)If any question arises under this section—
(a)whether the consent of the [F1Agency] is unreasonably withheld;
(b)whether any condition subject to which any consent of the [F1Agency] is given is reasonable; or
(c)whether any expenses have been reasonably incurred by the [F1Agency]in pursuance of this section;
that question shall be referred to the relevant Minister for decision.
(6)Where the relevant Minister gives any decision under this section, he shall make and cause to be laid before Parliament a report giving particulars of the question referred to him and of the reasons for his decision.
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