Consenting of Works
of the Land Drainage Act (1991) prohibits the
construction of certain kinds of obstructions in ordinary
watercourses without the prior consent of the regualting body
Who issues consents?
a) Bedford Borough Council
If you are planning on undertaking
any works to an ordinary watercourse, you may require consent under
the Land Drainage Act (1991) from Bedford Borough Council as the
regulating body. Ordinary watercourses include streams, drains and
ditches and passages through which water flows and that do not form
part of a main river. Scroll down to apply.
b) The Bedford Group of Internal
Where an ordinary watercourse falls
within the The Bedford Group of Internal Drainage Board's district
they will be responsible for consenting. To see if you are working
within their area use this interactive map or see
more on how the Internal Drainage Board
c) The Environment
The Environment Agency regulates
watercpurses that have been designated as main rivers, these
are classified as such on the official
Environment Agency Main River Map. Visit the Environment
Agency's consent page to apply for consent for woks on a main
What type of works require consent?
Not all works are consentable activities, consent is only
required for temporary or permanent works which are likely
- Alter or impact the flow or storage of water
- Establish a new culvert within an ordinary
When considering if your works require consent, check 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 likely need
consent. If you are in any doubt about whether you require consent
please contact us using the details below.
Remember, even if you have planning
permission or other consents you may still require consent if you
intend to carry out works on an ordinary watercourses.
Why is consent needed?
Work that is carried out without
consent has the potential to increase flood risk to people and
property and can result in civil action being taken (see
more on our enforcement powers). Please note that works
cannot be retrospectively consented.
What does the legislation state?
Section 23 of the Land Drainage Act
(1991) states, no person shall:
- Erect any mill dam, weir or other like obstruction to the flow
of any ordinary watercourse or raise or otherwise alter any such
- Erect a culvert in an ordinary watercourse, or
- 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.
How to apply for consent from the
We recommend that you contact
us as early as possible to discuss your plans before you
apply for consent. This will enable us to determine whether
your proposal affects the flow of an ordinary watercourse and if
consent is needed. We can also advise on what to include with
your application, other organisations that you may need to consult
on your proposal and how long it is likely to take us to determine
When all the preliminary details
have been agreed we will ask you to fill in an
application form. Please note that there is a fee of £50 per
application (we do not charge for enquiries).
How to contact us
Telephone: 01234 276808
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