Spring Bank Holiday on Monday 27 May means all rubbish and recycling collections will be one day later that week, including Friday collections taking place on Saturday 1 June.
Recycling and rubbish collection days are changing for some households in Mendip and South Somerset. Read about the changes and how they may affect you.



We are the Lead Local Flood Authority as defined by the Flood and Water Management Act 2010 and the Flood Risk Regulations 2009.

Under section 23 of the Land Drainage Act there is a legal requirement to seek consent from the relevant authority before piping/culverting or obstructing a watercourse, whether permanent or temporary. This may also include repairs to certain existing structures and maintenance works.

The Environment Agency was responsible for this but it transferred to the Lead Local Flood Authority in April 2012. Consenting for works on main rivers (flood defence consent) still remains within the powers of the Environment Agency; therefore, you will need to apply for drainage consent for works on any water courses designated as the main river directly to the Environment Agency.

For more information and how to apply please visit the Environment Agency website by using the link in the More information section. Somerset Council will lead on ordinary watercourse consenting only and enforcement; unless it is within an Internal Drainage Board area. Please refer to the map in Downloads to view the Internal Drainage Area or visit the Somerset Drainage Board website for more information about how to apply.

We will not be able to process an application if consent approval is required from either the Environment Agency or the Internal Drainage Boards – you will need to apply to them directly.

If the feature is within 8 metres of a main river you will need permission from the Environment or the Internal Drainage Boards if 9 metres outside the Internal Drainage Board’s area as stated in compliance with their byelaws.

If you are not sure whether a feature is an ordinary watercourse or a main river, we can check this for you. In some cases, we may request that you provide us with a plan showing the location. It may take us up to 10 days to respond to your query; however, we will endeavour to respond within a couple of days. Or, you can contact the Environment Agency.


Here are definitions of terms set out in the Flood and Water Management Act 2010:

Ordinary watercourse – A ‘watercourse’ that does not form part of a ‘main river’.
Watercourse – Includes all rivers and streams and all ditches, drains, cuts, culverts, dikes, sluices, sewers (other than public sewers within the meaning of the Water Industry Act 1991) and passages, through which water flows.
Main river – Watercourse shown as such on a main river map.
Public sewer – A sewer for the time being vested in a sewerage undertaker.
Culvert – A covered channel or pipe designed to prevent the obstruction of a watercourse or drainage path by an artificial construction.


Fees will be charged at £50 per structure, we would recommend that you call us if you are unsure about the correct fees. Please note that we only accept online payment (credit or debit cards) and no longer accept cheques or bank transfers.

How to apply

Applications for consent to carry out works in an ordinary watercourse must be made online. Please make sure you have a valid credit or debit card. You must have electronic copies of your supporting documents ready before you apply.

When making an application it is essential to fill in the application form accurately and provide any accompanying information, including drawings, maps and calculations. All submitted information, documents and plans must be clear.

Applications submitted without sufficient information or missing supporting documents or plans will be automatically declined and no refund will be issued.

To avoid unnecessary delays, please make sure that you have checked the following:

  • You are not applying using an old form
  • The water course is not a designated ‘main river’
  • It is not located within an Internal Drainage Board Area
  • You have provided all relevant information when submitting your application
  • You have provided supporting documents, including a location plan, method statements, drawing and cross-sections, and so on (Failure to supply supporting documents or the correct fee may result in your application being declined.)

Please use the guidance provided to assist you to fill in the application form. Other guidance is also provided, please read it carefully before filling in the form and submitting your application. If you are unsure about anything in these guidance notes, contact us using the details at the bottom of the form.

If you failed to meet the conditions

If you failed to meet any of the conditions stated on Consent Certificate and consequently committed further offences or breached environmental laws, we will report this to the relevant enforcement authority.

Other permissions

The issue of a Land Drainage Consent by the Council does not absolve a person proposing to execute works from the need to obtain any other licences, consents or permissions which may be required by law. The Council issues Land Drainage Consents under the Land Drainage Act 1991. It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that any other necessary permission from other authorities or undertakers is obtained.

Planning permissions
Planning Permissions and ‘Consent to Discharge’ in an ordinary watercourse obtained from the Planning Authority or the Environment Agency does not absolve anyone to carry out works in an ordinary watercourse.

More information

Discharges to a watercourse

Certain discharges to watercourses require the consent of the Environment Agency, which will be able to advise you on this subject. These discharges include outfalls from septic tanks and private sewerage treatment plants.

Gravel removal from watercourses

Gravels are an important natural feature of rivers and are very valuable for fish, plants and insects, some of which are declining in England and Wales. The Environment Agency has a legal duty to protect wildlife and is concerned about the amount of gravel that is being removed from rivers and watercourses.

It is important to note that you will need the Environment Agency’s permission to remove or move gravel. It would be advisable for anyone to ask for the Environment Agency’s help and advice before carrying out any work if this involves the removal of gravel.  Please contact the Environment Agency as soon as possible if you want to remove gravel for use on your land or move gravel shoals in any river or stream.

The Environment Agency may take action against anyone who does not get their consent or follow their advice. You may also need planning permission to remove or dispose of gravel.
Some rivers and ordinary watercourses are particularly special for wildlife and are legally protected as Special Areas of Conservation or Sites of Special Scientific Interest. You will be required to consult English Nature and obtain their permission in order to work in these watercourses.

Fish and protected species

In the event that the work involved is within a Salmonid river or contains other protected species, the timing of your works will be affected by fish spawning season. Please contact with the Environment Agency directly for advice.

Tree removal

If your proposal involves the removal of trees, the timing of your works will be affected by bird nesting season.

Bristol Water

Defra flooding information

Environment Agency

Flood Risk Regulations 2009

Somerset Drainage Board

South West Water

The Flood and Water Management Act 2010

The Land Drainage Act

Wessex Water

Last reviewed: February 29, 2024 by Keri

Next review due: August 29, 2024

Back to top