Ordinary Watercourses Land Drainage Consent

watercourse application map

We are responsible for authorising consent for anyone wishing to carry out changes to an ordinary watercourse that may affect flow or flood risk.


Anyone who wants to make changes to an ordinary watercourse must gain our written consent prior to carrying out such works.

Under the Land Drainage Act 1991 Section 23 the erection or alteration of any mill dam, culvert, weir or other like obstruction to the flow of an ordinary watercourse requires our consent. The regulation consists of two elements:

  • The issuing of consents for any changes to ordinary watercourses that might obstruct or alter the flow of an ordinary watercourse
  • Enforcement action to rectify unlawful and potentially damaging work to a watercourse.

Consent under the above legislation is required for both permanent and temporary works.

Even if you have planning permission or other consents you will still require our consent for work to ordinary watercourses. Main rivers are regulated by the Environment Agency. When using the online application form the location of main rivers in Derbyshire are highlighted in purple.

Activities on ordinary watercourses that require consent are those likely to cause an obstruction to flow or restrict storage and include culverting, bridges, weirs, etc.

An authorised consent for any such changes to the watercourse is important, as any changes have the potential to increase flood risk to people and property, either upstream or downstream.

Some guidance on activities likely to require written consent is attached to this page. This document is for guidance only, and you should contact our flood risk management team on 01629 538563 for further clarification.

You are encouraged to contact us in advance of applying for consent so that we can discuss your requirements, provide advice and ensure that your application is completed correctly. Before completing your application please review the application guidance notes about ordinary watercourse land drainage consents.

Enforcement action against unconsented works

Enforcement action can be carried out in the case of potentially damaging works undertaken without our consent, and where we deem that consent would have been required. Works cannot be retrospectively consented.

It may also be taken where consented works have been undertaken in a manner contravening the consent. Where such works have been carried out we have the power to:

  • send an advice letter to the individual reminding them of the requirements of their consent.
  • send a letter to warn the individual that their actions are in breach of the consenting legislation.
  • issue a notice enforcing remedial action or prohibiting an activity from being carried out.
  • direct remedial action, plus a recharge or the costs of such actions and possible prosecution.

Upon receipt of an application, there is a time limit of two months to grant or refuse consent.

The application isn't approved until you receive formal consent. Such consent shall not be unreasonably withheld.

Terms and conditions

You are responsible for ensuring any works are carried out in accordance with the consent and any other associated legislation.

You must ensure the contractor(s) carrying out the works are fully aware of the consent and its conditions.

How do I apply?

You can apply online using the application form, or via the PDF document attached.

Contact Details

Tel: 01629 538563
email: flood.team@derbyshire.gov.uk

Or post to:
Derbyshire County Council
Flood Risk Management Team
County Hall
Matlock
DE4 3AG

Related documents

The following documents are in Portable Document Format (PDF). You can download software to view PDF documents for free from the Adobe website (opens in a new window)