Consenting for works on ordinary watercourses

Cumbria County Council is now the flood defence consenting authority for works on Ordinary Watercourses.  An ordinary watercourse is every river, stream, ditch, drain, sluice, sewer (other than a public sewer) and passage through which water flows and which does not form part of a main river.

The Environment Agency retains responsibility for consents relating to main rivers.

It is essential that anyone who intends carrying out works that could obstruct the flow in an ordinary watercourse or that involve culverting and ordinary watercourse contacts the relevant authority to obtain any necessary consents before starting the work.  This is to ensure that any works do not endanger life or property by increasing the risk of flooding or cause harm to the water environment.

A land drainage (flood defence) consent is required for:

  • The erection of or alteration to, any mill, dam, weir or similar obstruction to the flow of any ordinary watercourse or
  • The construction of a culvert in any ordinary watercourse or
  • The alteration of a culvert in a way that would be likely to affect the flow of an ordinary watercourse or
  • Temporary works in an ordinary watercourse such as scaffolding, a dam, pumping off excessive water, or any major drainage work

Applying for a consent

Please contact us before you start your application - we may be able to advise you that consent is not required for your planned work, or give you advice that will help avoid unnecessary delays.  You can ring the Local Flood Risk team 01228 221331 for an informal discussion, or email us at LFRM.consent@cumbria.gov.uk with a contact number and an officer will ring you back.

It is essential the application is completed accurately and for accompanying information to be clear.  If any information is missing , determination of your application could be delayed.

Applications for flood defence consent cost £ 50, cheque's made payable to Cumbria County Council.

There is a statutory 2 month determination period.