Planning and Byelaws

It is essential that all watercourses are maintained to ensure the free flow of water and to help prevent flooding of land and property. This includes private watercourses for which the adjacent land or property owners are usually responsible.

Guidance published by the Environment Agency on responsibilities and rules to follow for watercourses on or near your property, and permissions you need to do work around them can be obtained from

The Board’s Byelaws and the Land Drainage Act 1991 allow the Board to take action to ensure that the free flow of water is not restricted.

Board maintained watercourses are cleaned out annually and it is important that access is preserved for machinery to enable this work to be undertaken. The Board’s Byelaws prevent the erection of any building, structure (whether temporary or permanent) or planting of trees/shrubs etc within nine metres either side of a Board maintained watercourse.

Irrespective of any planning permission, the Board’s consent will be required to undertake works such as:

  • Works in, over, under or within nine metres of a Board maintained watercourse.
  • Installation of a culvert, weir or other like obstruction within any watercourse.
  • Any works that increase the flow of surface water or treated foul effluent to any watercourse within the Board’s district.

Please see the Advice Notes below for further information or contact the Epworth Office on 01427 872715 or e-mail



For further advice contact the Epworth Office on 01427 872715 or e-mail