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Ordinary watercourse consents

Under the Flood and Water Management Act, Surrey County Council (as the Lead Local Flood Authority) has the responsibility for issuing and enforcing flood defence consents on ordinary watercourses, under sections 23 and 24 of the Land Drainage Act 1991.

An Ordinary Watercourse is any river, stream, brook, ditch, drain, culvert, pipe and any other passage through which water may flow which is not designated as Main River. The consent Surrey County Council issues covers works (including temporary works) that affect water flow within the channel of an ordinary watercourse. This could be a new pipe (culvert), bridge, dam, pond or other structure in the watercourse or a change to the alignment or the banks of the watercourse. Due to the legislation consent cannot be issued retrospectively and must be obtained before the work is carried out.

Each consent costs £50 and a separate consent is required for each structure or part of the works which affect the channel.  All submissions are considered on the details of the works being proposed but consent will likely be refused if the works result in an increase in flood risk or if they pose an unacceptable risk to nature conservation. We can also take enforcement action against unconsented or sub-standard works.

A copy of the application form and guidance documents are available for download below. A cheque for the appropriate amount should be made payable to Surrey County Council. If you would like to pay by BACS please contact the e-mail address below and you will be provided with a reference number to set up the BACS payment.   If you require any help in filling out the form or would like an electronic copy please contact us.

Enquiries/ applications (along with any corresponding attachments) for Ordinary Watercourse Consent should be sent to:

Strategic Network Resilience Team, Lab Building, Surrey County Council, Merrow Lane, Guildford, Surrey, GU4 7BQ

Or by email to:

Please note that we now accept payment for Ordinary Watercourse Consent online by credit or debit card.  If you want to pay by this method please fill in our online Ordinary Watercourse application form.  Please contact the above e-mail address if you have any problems in accessing the form.

Files available to download