Skip to main content

Do you need a watercourse consent?

What is a watercourse consent?

Watercourse consent ensures any works carried out do not have a negative effect on people or the environment.  It means any works which may affect flood risk are properly designed.

What type of work needs consent?

Any work or structure that will either, temporarily or permanently, affect the flow or cross-sectional area of an ordinary watercourse.

Below are examples of works that do require Ordinary Watercourse Consent from the Flood and Water Management Team.

If you remain unsure whether your works require consent, please contact us on watercourse.regulation@essex.gov.uk

Examples of work needing Ordinary Watercourse Consent

Cross section of a pipe culvertPipe Culvert (including extension and removal of)- Consent Required under Section 23 1(b and c)

Cross-section diagram of an oversized box culvertOversized Box Culvert (including extension and removal of)- Consent Required under Section 23 1(b & c)

Cross section diagram of a trash screenTrash Screens - Consent Required as it is an alteration to a culvert and has the potential to obstruct flow

Cross section diagram of a pipe crossing in a channelPipe Crossing (in channel) -Consent Required under Section 23 1(a)

Cross section diagram of a weir and damWeir/Dam or impoundment or temporary works that obstruct flow - Consent Required under Section23 1(a)

Cross-section diagram of a bridge where soffit level is below bank top levelBridge (where soffit level is below bank top level) - Consent Required under Section 23 1(a) if it has the potential to affect flow

Cross-section diagram of Bridge showing abutments restricting flowBridge (Abutments restricting flow) or Flume - Consent Required under Section 23 1(a)

Who issues consent?

If you are planning on starting any work affecting an ordinary watercourse, you may require consent under Section 23 Land Drainage Act (1991) from Essex County Council as the Lead Local Flood Authority (LLFA).

This must be agreed before the work begins. 

If works are carried out without consent, the Council has powers to remove or change them.

The Environment Agency regulates watercourses that have been designated as main rivers. You can find these on the official Environment Agency Main River Map.