Welcome to birmingham.gov.uk

Welcome to birmingham.gov.uk



Getting consent for watercourse works

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 Birmingham City Council as Lead Local Flood Authority. A watercourse includes all rivers and streams and all ditches, drains, cuts, culverts, dikes, sluices, sewers (other than public sewers i.e. being vested in a sewerage undertaker etc) and passages through which water flows, but may not hold water all the time.

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 Birmingham City 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.

The ordinary watercourse consenting process is in place to ensure that any works carried out do not have a detrimental effect on other people or the environment. It also ensures that any works which may affect flood risk are properly designed. If works are carried out without consent, Birmingham City Council has enforcement powers to remove or modify them.

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. 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. Also contact us if you wish to get advice on whether it is possible to carry out a scheme without the need for consent. Work can often be undertaken in more than one manner.

How do I apply?

To make an application, fill out the Application Form 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.

Please read the Guidance Notes to ensure you include all the relevant information required for validation.