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Land drainage and ordinary watercourse

As the Lead Local Flood Authority (LLFA) for Wiltshire, we have taken over the responsibility of issuing ordinary watercourse consents for works to ordinary watercourses (streams and ditches both natural and manmade and culverts etc) and/or taking enforcement action for any breaches. The Environment Agency will continue issuing consents for any work affecting all main rivers.

In future all land drainage and ordinary watercourse consents for works within Wiltshire will be issued by the council's drainage team.

Consent for works to ordinary watercourses is issued under The Land Drainage Act 1991, as amended by the Flood and Water Management Act 2010, and may be needed for any works that affect the flow of water in an ordinary watercourse, even if only temporarily. This will include any works that may alter or effect the flow upstream or downstream of the proposed works.

Not all works in or around a watercourse require consent, it depends on the impact on flow or potential flows.  If you are in any doubt please contact the drainage team for further advice. There is a risk that enforcement action may be taken if works are carried out without consent which could ultimately lead to a fine.

If consent is required there will be a charge for processing the application and for subsequent visits or inspections that are needed.  Applicants should note that the consent will be issued to the landowner and not to any agent or consultant acting on their behalf.

Please contact the drainage team for further information on ordinary watercourses in Wiltshire.


Before starting any work on or adjacent to a watercourse you must submit the plans to Wiltshire council in order to determine whether you require a land and ordinary watercourse consent and/or planning permission. Environmental issues including:

  • Flood risk
  • Wildlife conservation
  • Fisheries
  • Reshaping of the river
  • Landscape must all be considered

To apply for consent you will need to download and complete a form, read the accompanying notes and appendices, submit appropriate plans and fees and send them to the council.  
Applicants are advised to consult with the drainage team prior to submitting any plans.
These can all be found in the download section.


Contact us

0300 456 0105


01225 713488


Wiltshire Council Drainage Team
Highways Depot
Bath Road
SN14 0AB


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Last updated: 3 September 2019 | Last reviewed: 3 September 2019