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Ordinary Watercourse Consents

As of the 6th April 2012, the powers of ordinary watercourse consent were transferred from the Environment Agency to Dudley Council. This means that any works (either temporary or permanent), that may alter or impact the flow or storage of water within an ordinary watercourse will require consent from the Council prior to any work being carried out.

An ordinary watercourse as defined by the Flood and Water Management Act (2010) is any watercourse that does not form part of a main river. This includes all streams, ditches, drains, culverts, dikes, ponds, sluices, sewers (other than public sewers) and passages through which water flows. These do not necessarily have to be holding water at all times.
If the watercourse is part of a main river, then you need to apply for consent from the Environment Agency. To identify whether your watercourse is part of a main river, please refer to the Environment Agency’s website for more information.

Previously it was a requirement to apply for consent from the Environment Agency in accordance with the Land Drainage Act (1991) if you were proposing to build or alter a mill dam, weir or other like obstruction to the flow or if you were proposing to build or alter a culvert that would be likely to affect the flow of any ordinary watercourse. As a Lead Local Flood Authority (LLFA), Dudley Council is responsible for managing local flood risk and this now includes ordinary watercourse consenting and enforcement activities. The Flood and Water Management Act (2010) amended the Land Drainage Act (1991) so that flood risk from ordinary watercourses is now considered and managed at the local level to ensure they are operating efficiently and that any alterations are not or will not obstruct or affect flow increasing flood risk.
Section 23 of the Land Drainage Act (1991) as amended by the Flood and Water Management Act (2010) states:

No person shall-
(i) 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
(ii) Erect a culvert in an ordinary watercourse; or
(iii) 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.

In order for consent to be granted, you must submit your application for consent in writing to Dudley Council a reasonable length of time before you intend to carry out any proposed works, allowing us to fully consider your application. Links to both the application form and supporting guidance notes can be found at the bottom of this page. Please note there is a fee for consent applications which is currently set at £50.
So that your application is not delayed, please ensure you submit any required supporting documents, such as drawings and calculations (details of which are in the guidance notes) together with your application and fee to:

Ordinary Watercourse Regulations and Consents
Directorate of the Urban Environment
Environmental Management Division
Lister Road
Dudley MBC
West Midlands
DY2 8JW

Or alternatively email us