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Ordinary watercourse consent

If you want to make changes to a watercourse you must obtain formal consent. 

For main rivers, consent is required from the Environment Agency

For ordinary watercourses, consent must be obtained from Enfield Council.  An ordinary watercourse is any stream, ditch or other drainage feature that is not classed as a main river (refer to the Land Drainage Act 1991 for full definition).  These changes include any activity which will affect the flow or the capacity of the watercourse and includes the following:

  • Building a culvert over the watercourse. A culvert is a structure that allows water to flow under a road, railroad, trail, or similar obstruction from one side to the other side.
  • Building a weir or sluice in the watercourse. A weir is a barrier across a river designed to alter the flow characteristics. A sluice is a sliding gate or other device for controlling the flow of water.
  • Diverting the flow of the watercourse.

Email us or call on 020 8379 4158 to see if you will need formal consent.

If the river work requires legal permission, you will need to fill out an application form to make changes to your watercourse.

Apply for consent to change a watercourse

Watercourse guidance notes (PDF, 74KB) 

You will need to include drawings of the proposed works and a payment of £50 per structure.

We will assess your application and get back to you within two months. If your application is approved, we will send you a written confirmation and the certificates to begin work. Your application may be refused if we think:

  • the changes may greatly obstruct or damage the watercourse
  • the work is not necessary
  • there was not enough information in the application

It is a criminal offence to make changes to a watercourse without permission. The person responsible may be fined up to £5,000 and £40 per day after conviction if the problem is not fixed. We will not give consent for works after they have been started. We can also ask the legal owner to restore the watercourse back to the way it was at their own expense. 

Email us to report changes being made to a watercourse without permission.