Apply for land drainage consent

You’ll need to apply for land drainage consent if you’re planning on carrying out work on an ordinary watercourse.

Ordinary watercourses are passages of water that do not form part of a main river. They can include:

  • streams
  • ditches
  • drains
  • mills
  • dams
  • culverts
  • weirs

Identify a watercourse

How to apply

You can apply online for land drainage consent. It costs £50 per structure to apply.

With your application you will need to upload:

  • a location plan
  • a general arrangement or site plan
  • structure specific details and drawings (such as construction drawings) showing how the structure fits into the watercourse

Details and drawings should include:

  • cross-sections of the watercourse, showing the existing and proposed invert, bed, bank top, or road levels upstream, downstream and on structure location - the cross-sections should clearly show the profile of the watercourse
  • a long-section of the watercourse, showing existing and proposed levels - this should begin upstream of the structure and finish downstream of the structure, and cross-section locations should be clearly shown
  • method statement for the construction of the proposed structure, inclusive of ecological details
  • photographs of the structure location and surrounding areas

Depending on the proposal, you may also be required to provide drainage calculations to demonstrate no increase in water levels upstream or downstream of the structure.

More information about detailed drawings can be found in our land drainage consent guidance notes.

Apply now

We’ll grant or refuse consent within 2 months of receiving your application.

If you want to culvert an ordinary watercourse

A culvert is a covered structure that allows water to flow from one area to another. Buckinghamshire Council is the consenting authority for erecting a culvert in an ordinary watercourse.

If you are planning to culvert an ordinary watercourse, read our Culvert Policy before applying for land drainage consent.

This policy has been adopted to prevent the unnecessary culverting of Buckinghamshire's ordinary watercourses due to the adverse effects culverting can have on the environment. This includes:

  • exacerbated risk of flooding
  • increased maintenance requirements
  • difficulty detecting pollution
  • destruction of wildlife habitats
  • damage to natural amenity

Carrying out work on other types of watercourse

If you'd like to carry out work:

We have enforcement powers if work has been carried out on a watercourse without consent.

For more information, read our Land Drainage Enforcement Policy.

Help with your application

If you’d like to contact us before making an application for land drainage consent to discuss your requirements, you can email us on [email protected].