What is an ordinary watercourse?
An ordinary watercourse is any river, stream, ditch, drain, culvert, pipe and any other structure which water may flow through that is not designated as a main river.
You can use the Environment Agency’s main river map to check whether a watercourse is classified. For any watercourse that is not classified as a main river you will need an ordinary watercourse consent to undertake any works.
If the watercourse you would like to work on is classified as a main river you will need to seek permission from the Environment Agency. See the Environment Agency’s Environmental Permits page for information and advice on how to obtain an environment permit (formerly known as a flood defence consent).
Ordinary watercourse consent guidance
Under the Flood and Water Management Act 2010, Southampton City Council is designated as Lead Local Authority for Southampton. Since the 6 April 2012, under sections 23 and 24 of the Land Drainage Act (1991), the Lead Local Authority has been responsible for the management of ordinary watercourse regulation and therefore the council is the consenting authority for proposed structures and obstructions within a watercourse.
If you have any questions about applying for Ordinary Watercourse Consent please contact the Flood Risk Management team at firstname.lastname@example.org.