From 6 April 2012 the regulation of Ordinary Watercourses has been transferred from the Environment Agency (EA) to the Lead Local Flood Authority (LLFA), Sutton Council. As a regulatory body, we are responsible for both consenting and enforcing.

Types of work that need consent

Any works (including temporary works) that affect the flow of water through an Ordinary Watercourse will need consent from the LLFA before works can commence.

All works to culverts now also need consent.

Ordinary watercourse

A watercourse is defined in the Land Drainage Act 1991 as 'all rivers and streams, all ditches, drains, cuts, culverts, dikes, sluices, sewers (other than public sewers within the meaning of the Water Industry Act 1991) and passages, through which water flows'. An Ordinary Watercourse is a watercourse that has not been designated as a main river on the EA's Main River Map.

Main rivers

Main rivers are the larger more arterial watercourses and are managed by the EA. Within Sutton, the main rivers are:

  • the Pyl Brook (Main and East branch)
  • the River Wandle and
  • the Beverly Brook

The regulation of main rivers (including consent for works on main rivers) is with the EA. A non-statutory map of main rivers is available on GOV.UK.

Applying for consent

Before you apply for consent

You'll need to consider if you can complete the works without:

  • affecting the flow of water, or
  • increasing the level of flood risk

Before making an application you should contact us for informal advice.

You'll also need to:

Make an application

You'll need to complete the Ordinary Watercourse consent application form.

You'll need to enclose:

  • a payment of £50
  • detailed drawings of the proposed works, and
  • a method statement for the intended works

Additional consents

Depending on the type of work that you are carrying out, you may need additional consent for works from the EA. The types of work that would require additional consent include:

  • impounding (holding back a watercourse)
  • disposing of waste material
  • fish or fisheries
  • abstracting (removing) water
  • discharging of water
  • enforcement powers

Under section 23 of the Land Drainage Act 1991, we have the power to take remedial action where works or obstructions are impeding the flow of water without consent. Should we need to issue a notice and the notice is ignored, we have the power to complete the works and reclaim the associated costs.

Contact us

If you are unsure whether work you are planning to carry out requires consent, contact us for advice

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