Consent to work on an ordinary watercourse
If you want to undertake certain types of work on or near a watercourse, you need to get consent before you start.
An ordinary watercourse is defined as a watercourse that does not form part of a main river. This includes streams, drains, culverts, dikes, ditches and passages through which water flows. Natural Resource Wales are responsible for issuing consent on main rivers.
Certain types of work near a watercourse may not be allowed because it could increase the flood risk or have a negative environmental impact. Before we can give consent to a scheme, we’ll need to check that it doesn’t increase the risk of flooding and that it does not adversely affect the environment.
If you are a landowner or developer we strongly recommend that you contact us as early as possible on any proposal, allowing sufficient time before work is to start. By doing so, possible issues can be identified and resolved prior to plans reaching an advanced stage, minimising costs to all parties. Other benefits include the identification of environmental enhancements which do not necessarily require significant expenditure and reducing the time required by us to make a decision.
How do I apply?
If it’s a main river you’ll need to apply to National Resource Wales.
Works affecting an ordinary watercourse may need consent from us. Applications can be submitted online. We encourage all landowners and developers to discuss your requirements with us in advance of submitting an application. We may be able to suggest options that do not require consent and that do not have an adverse effect on the watercourse. If consent is still required, pre-application discussions can ensure that you fully understand the requirements and any potential alternative ways of undertaking the works, that does not require consent.
Applications can be submitted online. The current application fee is £50 per structure or any alteration likely to affect the flow of water in an ordinary watercourse.
Apply for ordinary watercourse consent >
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How long does it take?
Applications have a statutory 2 month determination period and an application will be granted, denied or granted with conditions. A timescale will also be given for the works to be undertaken. Please read the guidance notes provided with your application form to make sure you include all the information we need.
What type of work needs consent?
Both permanent and temporary works affecting a watercourse may need consent. Temporary works could include damming or partial damming of a watercourse to allow permanent work such as the installation of a bridge.
If you’re not sure if your proposals will need consent or if you need more information, please contact us. There’s often more than one way to complete a job and we may be able to suggest a way to carry out a scheme without the need for consent.
How much will it cost?
The current application fee is £50 per structure or any alteration likely to affect the flow of water in an ordinary watercourse. Cheques should be made payable to “Caerphilly County Borough Council” and on the reverse please write Ordinary Watercourse Consent Application and quote the application reference number. For example, if the proposed scheme is for one headwall structure and one culvert diversion then you will be required to submit two applications which would cost £50 each.
Does the consent have a time limit?
When consent is given, it is valid for one year. This is because the effects of the scheme may change because of things that happen after you make the application.
Depending on your proposals, we may give a ‘conditioned consent’ for you to carry out the work, for example at a certain time of year, in order to reduce flood risk and potential ecological damage.
Enforcement action against un-consented works
If works are carried out without consent, and where we consider that consent would have been required, we can’t give consent retrospectively. In these cases we will normally take action to make sure the ordinary watercourse is put back to the condition it was in beforehand or remedial action taken.
If you have noticed works to an ordinary watercourse in your local area, please contact us to find out whether the work has the consent it needs.
Land Drainage Byelaws
Caerphilly County Borough Council has implemented Land Drainage Byelaws, these help us regulate certain activities associated with ordinary watercourses.
Land Drainage Bylaws (PDF)
Click here for details of the consultation exercise
For more information on the consenting process, enquiries relating to the consenting process, pre-application discussions and consent submissions, please contact us.