Applying for consent for watercourse works
We issue consent for work on ordinary watercourses.
Who do I need to get consent from?
If you wish to undertake certain types of work on a watercourse then you need permission from the appropriate body. This depends on whether the watercourse is classed as a "main river" or an "ordinary watercourse".
Works affecting an ordinary watercourse may require consent from Staffordshire County Council or possibly the Sow and Penk Internal Drainage Board if your works are in the Stafford area.
If the watercourse is classed as a main river you need to apply for consent from the Environment Agency for any works that you propose to carry out within eight metres of the top of the bank.
Where works include excavation of a highway, a permit to dig may also be required. Please consult with Highways for more information on this.
Why do I need consent?
Under the Land Drainage Act 1991 certain types of work within a watercourse may not be permitted due to the potential increase in flood risk. In order to allow work to take place, the County Council can issue consent for a proposed scheme by checking that it does not increase the risk of flooding and that it does not adversely affect the environment.
You can check our guidance diagrams for a list of consentable activities:
Both permanent and temporary works affecting a watercourse may require consent. Temporary works could be the damming of a watercourse to allow permanent work such as the installation of a bridge.
Only certain types of work require consent. When considering if your works require consent, consider if they would affect the flow of the watercourse when it is full to the top of the bank. If the flow of the watercourse, when it is full to the top of the bank, will be affected the work will need consent.
If you are not sure if your proposals will need consent or require further advice in relation to your proposed works, then please contact us and one of our flood risk management team will get back in touch to follow up your enquiry:
Phone: 0300 111 8000
How do I apply for consent?
To make an application, fill out the application form and submit using our online developer advice form.
Sufficient information such as plans and additional information must be included in order for us to determine the suitability of your proposals. These can all be added to the online order form (up to 8 MB). You must demonstrate that your proposals will not have an adverse effect on flood risk or the environment. There is an application fee, which is currently £50 per structure/operation, and is payable through our online order form.
Your application will be determined within two months of receiving a valid application. A valid application includes a completed application form, appropriate details of your proposals and the application fee.
Please read the guidance notes to ensure you include all the relevant information required for validation.
If you are unable to load all the accompanying documents, these can be sent separately once you have placed the order. If you have any further questions please contact us:
Does the consent have a time limit?
Depending on your proposals, a conditioned consent may be given for you to carry out the work, for example, at a certain time of year in order to reduce flood risk and avoid potential ecological damage.
Your consent will also only be valid for a period of three years. This is because the resultant effects of the scheme may change due to other factors that have developed since the application was first made.