If you want to do works to a watercourse in Suffolk, it is likely that you will need to be granted consent by either us, an Internal Drainage Board, or the Environment Agency.
Main rivers are the responsibility of the Environment Agency, and applications to work on main rivers must be submitted to them. You can use this map created by the Environment Agency to find out whether or not the application in question is on a main watercourse.
The responsibility to manage flood risk from ordinary watercourses (streams and ditches, etc) in Suffolk rests with us, as the Lead Local Flood Authority (LLFA). Therefore, it is the law that anyone who intends to carry out works in, over, under or near an ordinary watercourse in Suffolk contacts us to obtain Land Drainage Consent before starting the work. The reason for 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.
As a guide for applicants, we have created a simple diagram which aims to make clear which kinds of work do or don't need consent. Doing works without consent is illegal, and you may be required to return the watercourse to its original state at your own cost.
Our developer guidance page contains information on our role as a statutory consultee on major planning applications.
You may request a flood map from us to find out whether the area your application sits in is predicted to be at risk from flooding.
Internal Drainage Boards
Piping a Watercourse
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