Shropshire Council

Ordinary watercourses - applying for consent for works

Did you know that if you wish to undertake certain types of work on a watercourse, you need to obtain consent before you commence?

Who do I 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’.

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. 

Works affecting an ordinary watercourse may require consent from us or your local internal drainage board (IDB) where there is one present.

We, as lead local flood authority, took on the ordinary watercourse consenting role from the Environment Agency on 6 April 2012, when the next phase of the Flood and Water Management Act 2010 was implemented.

You can check the classification of the watercourse your work will effect on our Drainage and Flooding Interactive Map.

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 Shropshire 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.

What type of work needs consent?

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, then please contact us. If you wish to get advice on whether it is possible to carry out a scheme without the need for consent, please contact us. Work can often be undertaken in more than one manner. Our guidance which is attached to this page gives examples of consentable and non-consentable works.

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 a certain time of year, in order to reduce flood risk and 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.

How do I apply?

To make an application, fill out the application form (available to download in the related documents section of this page) and return it to us. Sufficient additional information must be included in order for us to determine the suitability of your proposals. You must demonstrate that your proposals will not have an adverse effect on flood risk or the environment. You must also submit an application fee. This is currently £50.

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 our guidance notes to ensure you include all the relevant information required for validation.

How do I pay?

You can pay the application fee by card by calling us on 01743 255493 (7am-3pm Monday to Thursday).