It is important that watercourses are maintained. This is to make sure that they can properly allow water to drain away and cope during bad weather.

  • If you own land or property next to a river, stream or ditch you are a ‘riparian landowner’ and are therefore generally responsible for it's maintenance.
  • Where a boundary between two landowners is defined in the deeds as a watercourse, a landowner owns up to the centre of that watercourse, and as such is responsible for its maintenance.

The Environment Agency provides guidance on the rights and responsibilities of riparian landowners.

Works affecting a watercourse

If you wish to carry out any works which may affect the flow in a watercourse, you must obtain our written consent under the 1991 Land Drainage Act. This is in addition to any other consents or approvals you may need. If you are unsure, then please contact us.

Watercourse land drainage consent application form and notes (PDF 0.29MB)