National industry association moves to Warwickshire

The industry voice for water level and flood risk management in the UK has moved its headquarters to Warwickshire.

The Association of Drainage Authorities (ADA), which is the membership body for water level management organisations, has relocated to the Rural Innovation Centre at Stoneleigh Park from Surrey.

ADA was established in 1937 to watch over and support the interests of drainage authorities at a national and parliamentary level, and provide a forum for the exchange of information and expertise.

It has grown to over 230 members, which include Internal Drainage Boards, the Environment Agency, local authorities and suppliers to the industry.

The Association’s profile has been raised by the succession of flooding events affecting the UK in recent years as it has played a crucial role in calling for more sustainable funding for managing flood risk and shaping legislative change whilst publicising the essential work of its members.

Henry Cator, chairman of ADA, said the move to Stoneleigh Park represented a new era for the organisation with the appointment of a new chief executive and staff.

Innes Thomson has taken over as chief executive from Jean Venables, who stepped down after nine years in the role, and Ian Moodie joins as technical manager. They will head up the office, assisted by two newly-appointed support staff.

Henry said: “ADA has grown to the point where it can have its own national office with directly employed staff. With its central and rural focus, Stoneleigh Park is a great fit.

“Our industry is facing continuing challenges, one of which is securing sufficient funding to maintain the nation’s watercourses to mitigate the effects and chances of flooding, and one of the great strengths of ADA is the ability to speak with one voice.

“We want to raise the profile and provide greater voice for our members so that there is a better understanding of what they do and what they defend, and why that is so important to, for example, our local communities, roads, railways, power stations and water supply and treatment works. Innes and Ian will build upon the progress that has been made.”

An opening event at the Rural Innovation Centre was attended by board members, stakeholders and neighbouring organisations, including the National Farmers’ Union which is headquartered at Stoneleigh Park and already works with ADA.

The Rural Innovation Centre is part of the Warwickshire Rural Growth Network, funded by DEFRA and led by Warwickshire County Council on behalf of the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership.

The building was refurbished by LaSalle Investment Management as part of its on-going transformation of Stoneleigh Park into a centre of agricultural excellence.

Liz Burkinshaw, manager of the Rural Innovation Centre, said: “Stoneleigh Park was the location of choice for ADA’s new headquarters due to the range of rural-based organisations here and its central location.

“We were delighted to be able to provide ADA with the serviced office space it needed to accommodate its expanding team, and access to meeting rooms which can be used for training and seminars held for its members.”