If you wish to undertake certain types of work on a watercourse then you need permission from the appropriate authority. This depends on whether the watercourse is classed as a main river or an ordinary watercourse.

Main rivers

If the watercourse is classed as a main river you need to apply for an environmental permit from the Environment Agency. View a map showing main rivers

Streams, drains and ditches

An ordinary watercourse is defined as a watercourse that is not a main river, and includes streams, drains and ditches, and passages through which water flows. Works affecting an ordinary watercourse may require consent from us.

Regulation is required in order to minimise the risk of flooding and to ensure that there is no increased flood risk on a particular site, avoiding any adverse effects on people and the environment. The process consists of issuing consents for acceptable work and undertaking enforcement action when appropriate to deal with unacceptable activities.

Land Drainage Consent does not remove the requirement to obtain planning permission, environmental or ecological permissions or listed building consent.

What works need consent

Only certain types of works under the Land Drainage Act require consent such as constructing or altering a mill, dam, weir, and any culvert which is likely to affect the water flow. Both permanent and temporary works affecting the flow of a watercourse may require consent.

Before you start

We encourage you to contact us in advance of applying for consent so that we can discuss your requirements, provide advice and ensure that your application is valid and completed correctly.

Before submitting an application you must:

Apply for land drainage consent

You can download the land drainage consent application form.

Your application will be determined within 2 months of receiving a valid application. A valid application includes a completed application form, appropriate details of your proposals and the application fee (if appropriate). 

Contact us

If you have a query regarding land drainage consent please contact us.

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