Ordinary Watercourse Consent
If you are planning on undertaking any works to an ordinary
watercourse, you may require consent under the Land Drainage Act
(1991) from Bedford Borough Council.
Ordinary watercourses include streams, drains and ditches and
passages through which water flows that do not form part of the
main river. From the 6th April, the duty to
consent works on ordinary watercourses, passes to Bedford Borough
Council, from the Environment Agency.
Environment Agency remains responsible for main river
consenting, and the Bedford Group of Drainage Boards is responsible
for consenting on ordinary watercourses within their drainage
A statutory map showing main rivers is available from the
Environment Agency. Main rivers are regulated by
the Environment Agency.
To determine if the watercourse is in the drainage board's area,
an interactive map is
available on their website.
Section 23 of the Land Drainage Act (1991) states:
No person shall –
i. erect any mill
dam, weir or other like obstruction to the flow of any ordinary
watercourse or raise or otherwise alter any such obstruction;
ii. erect a
culvert in an ordinary watercourse, or
iii. alter a
culvert in a manner that would be likely to affect the flow of an
ordinary watercourse, without the consent in writing of the
drainage board concerned.
Consent under this section may be given
subject to reasonable conditions.
How to apply for land drainage consent for ordinary
We recommend you contact us as early as possible for advice to
determine whether your proposals will be deemed to affect the flow
of an ordinary watercourse and therefore require consent.
To make an application, please contact us for a form. We
can also advise on what to include with your application, which
other organisations you may need to consult regarding your
application and how long it takes to process your application.
By email: email@example.com
By telephone: 01234 276808