Consenting of work | Oxfordshire County Council
  • Home
  • What requires consent?

Consenting of work

Consenting of work that affect ordinary watercourses.

Section 23 of the Land Drainage Act (1991) prohibits the construction of certain kinds of obstructions in ordinary watercourses without the prior consent of the regulating body concerned.

Work that is carried out without consent has the potential to increase flood risk to people and property and can result in civil action being taken.  Please note that work cannot be retrospectively consented.

What type of work requires consent?

Not all works are consentable activities, consent is only required for temporary or permanent works which are likely to:

  • Alter or impact the flow or storage of water
  • Establish a new culvert within an ordinary watercourse

When considering if your works require consent, check if they would affect the flow of the watercourse when it is full to the top of the bank. If the flow of the watercourse, when it is full to the top of the bank, if it will be affected the work will likely need consent.

If you are in any doubt about whether you require consent contact the Drainage Team.

Even if you have planning permission or other consents you may still require consent if you intend to carry out works on a watercourse.


A culvert is a a covered channel or pipe which prevents the obstruction of a watercourse or drainage path by an artificial construction. A culvert has a maximum capacity, which depends on its size, slope, roughness, and its entrance and exit design. A flow larger than the capacity will not be able to pass through the culvert, and at that time the culvert will affect the flow, diverting it elsewhere with possible flood risk consequences.

Consents for culverts

Schedule 2 paragraph 32 (2) of the Flood and Water Management Act (2010) amends Section 23 of the Land drainage Act to require that any new culvert must have consent of the regulating body before it can be constructed.

Last reviewed
02 December 2015
PrintPrint Give us feedback on this pageFeedback form, opens in new window.
Access key details Skip to main content Home News Sitemap Search Website help Complaints Terms and conditions Website feedback