Land Drainage Consent

On 6 April 2012 we, as the Lead Local Flood Authority (LLFA), gained responsibility for authorising consent for works that affect the flow of an ordinary watercourse.

Under the terms of Section 23 of the Land Drainage Act 1991 any person/organisation wishing to erect or alter any mill dam, culvert, weir or other like obstruction to the flow of an ordinary watercourse must gain our formal written approval.

An ‘ordinary watercourse' is a watercourse that is not part of a main river and includes rivers, streams, ditches, drains, cuts, culverts, dikes and sluices. If the watercourse you wish to carry out works on is part of a main river then you will need to apply for Flood Defence Consent from the Environment Agency. To identify whether your watercourse is a main river, follow this link to the Environment Agency’s website

How to apply for consent

You must apply for consent prior to starting works – we cannot give retrospective consent for works.

Please contact us before you start your application. We may be able to advise you that consent is not required, or give you advice that will help avoid unnecessary delays.

Once a full consent application and the correct application fee are received by us, the application will be checked for missing information and be validated. The assessment process will then begin:

  • we have a maximum of 8 weeks to determine an application
  • the applicant will receive written confirmation within this period on whether consent has been given or not
  • if the application is not considered within this timeframe, then the application is automatically given consent

The fee for Land Drainage Consent currently stands at £50 per structure, which is dictated to us by the legislation. The amount payable will increase incrementally for every individual structure or works. For example, if the proposed scheme is for two separate weirs, then the application would be £100 (£50 x 2 structures).

To be valid, an application will require, as a minimum:

  • a completed application form
  • a location plan
  • a method statement for the works
  • any relevant engineering drawings demonstrating the nature of the structure/works
  • any relevant ecological and/or environmental information deemed necessary
  • any other required information as identified by a Land Drainage Officer during pre-application discussion.

After contacting us to confirm that Land Drainage Consent is required, applicants should download and complete the application form below and email it to or return hard copies to:

Land Drainage and Flood Defence
Derby City Council
Stores Road Depot
15 Stores Road
DE21 4BD

Works to install or alter culverts

In line with good practice, we seek to avoid new culverts where possible because of the adverse ecological, flood risk and public safety impacts. Where possible we promote the removal of culverts. Watercourses are important linear features of the landscape and should be maintained as continuous corridors to maximise their benefits to people and the environment.

We will consider each application to culvert a watercourse individually and in accordance with our risk-based approach to consenting. However we will only give consent for a new culvert if there is no reasonably practicable alternative, or if we think the detrimental effects would be so minor that a more costly alternative would not be justified.

We do however recognise that there are situations where installing a culvert may be unavoidable, such as short lengths for access purposes or where the Highway crosses a watercourse.

Failure to obtain Land Drainage Consent

Failure to obtain Land Drainage Consent prior to carrying out the works may be deemed a criminal offence. Any person acting in contravention of Section 23 of the Land Drainage Act 1991, may be liable, on conviction, to a fine of up to £5,000 and to a further fine of up to £40 for every day on which the contravention is continued after conviction.

Under Section 24 or of the Land Drainage Act 1991 we have the power (without prejudice to any other criminal proceedings) to take such action as may be necessary to remedy the effect of the contravention or failure to obtain consent, and to recover the expenses reasonably incurred by it in so doing from the person in default.

We take a risk-based approach to enforcement on unconsented works and where possible will always seek to resolve any issues amicably with all parties through negotiation. Enforcement will normally be used as a last resort and where there is a risk to life, property or infrastructure caused by the unconsented works.

Application documents and guidance

Please contact the Projects Water and Flood Risk Management Team before completing and submitting this form to discuss your requirements:

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