We are the Lead Local Flood Authority (LLFA) 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 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 Information and Resources section. Somerset County 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 IDB if 9 metres outside the IDB’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.