Apply for consent for works affecting ordinary watercourses

Application form and supporting information for land drainage consent for works affecting ordinary watercourses

You're required to submit a land drainage application to us if you wish to do any works which may affect the flow in a watercourse. This can include culverts, dams, weirs or installation of headwalls into a watercourse (including the bank).

Please note when making an application it is essential to fill in the application form fully and accurately, and for any accompanying information, including drawings, maps, assessments and calculations submitted to be clear.

Before submitting and application you may find it useful to familiarise yourself with our consenting policy (PDF, 782KB), which outlines the features we would expect to see in an application and why.  

You may wish to discuss the information required with our officers before you make your formal application. Contact details can be found below.

Please note: Incomplete or illegible applications will be returned to the applicant and your fee will not be processed. 

Download the application form

How to complete your application for consent

The following notes should assist you in the completion of the application form and the submission of supporting documentation:

Before starting

Certain structures and features may need consent and others may not. On top of this, some might instead need temporary consent. This helpful diagram (PDF, 39KB) can help to make consenting a bit clearer. 

Details of applicant

The name of the individual, organisation or company applying for consent should be given along with the name, address and telephone number of a person who can be contacted to discuss the proposals.

Agent’s details

Agents acting on behalf of an applicant should enter details. If this section is completed, all correspondence will be sent to the agent. Leave blank if not applicable.

Applicant’s interest in land

Please state the applicant’s interest in the land, i.e. owner, tenant, etc.


The name of the watercourse as shown on the Ordnance Survey map should be given if known, (many minor watercourses are unnamed).

The location of the proposed works should indicate the nearest town/village, the address of the site or sufficient description to enable the site to be identified easily.

The Grid Reference must be provided as 6 figure Eastings and Northings: e.g 612345 212345

Description and purpose of proposed works

It is important to accurately describe the proposal(s) for which application is being made on the application form.

State the purpose of the works and indicate in the box the number of structures for which consent is being sought.

Description and numbers of plans and sections submitted

If you include a drawing which has been prepared for some other purpose it is requested that those items for which consent is being sought should be highlighted in colour.

A hard copy of all relevant drawings are required and to speed up the consultation process if you could also submit documents via email in PDF format.

If you are able to do this please include with the application and paper drawings or send

The drawings should not be larger than A0 size and should include:

  1. Location plan
    This should be based on an Ordnance Survey map and should show clearly the general geographic location of the site where the works are to be constructed.
  2. Site plan
    This should be drawn to a recognised scale which must be clearly stated. Ordnance Survey maps or engineering drawings to a scale of 1:1250 or larger are recommended.
  3. Detailed drawings (plans and sections)
    Provision of the following details will assist in the determination of your application:
    • Plan(s) and cross section(s) showing details of existing and proposed features. Cross sections should be drawn looking downstream on the watercourse where appropriate.
    • Details of existing and proposed water levels, shown on cross sections or a longitudinal section of the relevant length of watercourse where appropriate.
    • Calculations to demonstrate the hydraulic capacity of any channel works, culverting or bridge works.
    • Land surface contours, where appropriate.
    • The materials to be used for any structures.
    • The location of any proposed service pipes or cables which may affect the future maintenance of the watercourse.
    • Details of any tree, shrub, hedgerow, pond or wetland area which may be affected by the proposed work.
    • Details of any planting or seeding within the river channel or adjacent to the watercourse within the floodplain.
    • Bridges and culverts – Additional cross sections upstream and downstream of the proposed works and/or longitudinal section along the centre line of the watercourse are required sufficient for the average channel bed gradient to be determined.
    • Dams and weirs – A plan showing the extent of the impoundment under normal and flood conditions is required in order to assess the possible impact on riparian owners.
    • Mineral extraction/land filling – Contour surveys of the existing site are required in addition to details of the proposed filled site. Details of interim levels including temporary stock pile works are required where such works are in flood plain areas.
  4. Sketches
    Legible sketches clearly illustrating the proposed works and adequately dimensioned will be acceptable.

Construction details

Separate consents are required for both the permanent works and for any temporary works which do not form part of the permanent works. Please state whether the works are to be permanent or temporary and the anticipated construction start date.

If works are to be temporary state duration required.

Planning approval

Some works may also require local authority planning approval in addition to consent.

If you already have planning approval, please indicate the name of the planning authority, application reference number and the date approval obtained.

Name of person/organisation responsible for maintaining the structure on completion and during the works

This will normally be the applicant. Please indicate if responsibility is to pass to others.

Please also indicate who is responsible for maintaining temporary works during the construction period.

Brief details of environmental impact of works etc.

Suffolk County Council has a duty to conserve and enhance the natural environment, and must therefore consider the environmental implications of any proposal.

Any proposals must adhere to the Water Environment (Water Framework Directive)(England and Wales) Regulations 2003 (WER) and other environmental legislation.

A WER assessment or Environmental Impact Assessment maybe required.


Enter the value of the cheque submitted or the payment type requested. Ensure that there are enough copies of the plans in your submission, and arrange for photographic evidence to be collected after completion. Sign and date the form.

Application charge

Suffolk County Council as the Local Lead Flood Authority are authorised by section 23(2) of the Land Drainage Act 1991 (as amended by the Flood and Water Management Act 2010) to charge an application fee in relation to the consents required.

These fees are payable to cover our costs for examining the proposals.

The amount of the fee is £50 per structure.

Value Added Tax is not applicable.

Cheques should be made payable to “Suffolk County Council”.

You should note that this charge is payable in respect of each structure and the box on the application form should be completed as appropriate.

Please contact your local Suffolk County Council, Flood & Water Management office if you are in doubt about the fee applicable.

Submitting your application

If possible please submit your completed application, with the necessary fee and supporting documents, via email to

If you are unable to send the application digitally, please post all of the relevant documentation and fee to:

Suffolk County Council
Flood & Water Management
Endeavour House
8 Russell Road

Telephone: 0345 606 6067

Fax: 01473 216864


Legal provisions and data protection

Legal provisions

For your information the legal provisions are as follows:

Land Drainage Act 1991 as amended by the Flood and Water Management Act 2010 (FWMA10)
Section 23(1) of the Land Drainage Act 1991 (LDA91) provides:

“No person shall:

(a) erect any mill dam, weir or other like obstruction to the flow of any ordinary watercourse or raise or otherwise alter any such obstruction; or

(b) erect a culvert in an ordinary watercourse, or

(c) alter a culvert in a manner that would be likely to affect the flow of an ordinary watercourse,

without the consent in writing of the drainage board concerned.

Failure to apply for a consent

Under the Land Drainage Act 1991 if works are executed without first obtaining a formal written consent from us we have the power to serve a notice under Section 24(1) requiring you to abate the nuisance within a specified time.

Failure to comply with the notice is a criminal offence. Steps may be also be taken to abate the nuisance and recover from you the expenses so incurred.

Data Protection Act 1988

The Data Protection Act, which came into force in March 2000, requires that Suffolk County Council, as a Lead Local Flood Authority, advises its customers how data relating to individuals will be processed and disclosed.

The information provided will be processed by Suffolk County Council as the Lead Local Flood Authority to deal with your application, to monitor compliance with the Licence/permit/registration conditions, to process renewals, and for maintaining the relevant public register(s).

We may also process and/or disclose it in connection with the following:

consulting with the public, public bodies and other organisations (e.g. Health and Safety Executive, Local Authorities, Emergency Services, DEFRA, Environment Agency, Internal Drainage Boards) on environmental issues;

  • carrying out statistical analysis, research and development on environmental issues;
  • providing public register information to enquirers;
  • investigating possible breaches of environmental law and taking any resulting action;
  • preventing breaches of environmental law; and
  • assessing customer service satisfaction and improving our service.

We may pass the information on to our agents/representatives to do these things on our behalf.

Contact information

Contact us

If you are in any doubt about whether you need to apply for a consent, how to complete the application forms or any other aspect of your application please contact:

Suffolk County Council
Flood & Water Management
Endeavour House
8 Russell Road

Telephone: 0345 606 6067

Fax: 01473 216864

If possible, please submit your completed application via email to