Flood Risk & Watercourse Consents

Ordinary Watercourse Consent


Applying for consent used to be the responsibility of the Environment Agency in accordance with the Land Drainage Act 1991. As a Lead Local Flood Authority (LLFA), the Isle of Wight Council is responsible for managing local flood risk and this now includes ordinary watercourse consenting and enforcement activities.

The Flood and Water Management Act 2010 amended the Land Drainage Act 1991 so that flood risk from ordinary watercourses is now considered and managed at the local level to ensure they are operating efficiently and that any alterations are not or will not obstruct or affect flow increasing flood risk.

Section 23 of the Land Drainage Act (1991) as amended by the Flood and Water Management Act (2010) states:

No person shall- 
    (i)      Erect any mill dam, weir or other like obstruction to the flow of any ordinary watercourse or raise or otherwise alter any such obstruction; or 
    (ii)     Erect a culvert in an ordinary watercourse; or 
    (iii)    Alter a culvert in a manner that would be likely to affect the flow of an ordinary watercourse, without the consent in writing of the drainage board concerned.


Please note that for the purposes of the Act the Isle of Wight Council is the drainage board concerned for the whole of the Isle of Wight.

Not all works will require consent. Only those which are likely to alter or impact the flow or storage of water, or erection of a culvert within an ordinary watercourse will require consent. (Note: flow should be determined as bank full flow conditions).

The council has an Ordinary Watercourse Consent Protocol which can be viewed by clicking here (PDF, 309KB, 6 pages).

If you are in any doubt about whether you require consent please contact us using the details in the 'contact' tab above.

Applying for Consent

In order for consent to be granted, you must submit your application for consent in writing to the Isle of Wight Council a reasonable length of time before you intend to carry out any proposed works, allowing us to fully consider your application.

Links to both the application form and supporting guidance notes can be found at the bottom of this page.

So that your application is not delayed, please ensure you submit any required supporting documents, such as drawings and calculations (details of which are in the guidance notes) together with your application to the Planning Offices marked Ordinary Watercourse Regulation (please see our address details on the 'contact' tab above.).

Application Forms

Application forms and guidance notes are available on-line.  Please click here for the Application Form (PDF, 115KB, 4 pages) and Guidance Notes (PDF, 154KB, 4 pages)

Alternatively, you can obtain paper copies of both the application form and guidance notes by visiting the Planning Services Reception area the address details of which can be found by using the 'contacts' tab above.

Processing Applications for Consent

Once an application for consent is received by the Isle of Wight Council it will be acknowledged within 3 working days. 

The applicant will receive written confirmation within 2 months as to whether or not consent has been granted.

If consent is granted works may proceed, however, it may include other conditions that the applicant are required to meet such as timescales or requirements for additional permits or permissions from other bodies. We will notify the applicant of these conditions at the time consent is issued.

An application for consent may be refused if it is believed the flow of a watercourse will be obstructed in a way that will have an adverse impact on flood risk, or if there is insufficient information within the application to determine if consent can be issued.


Information on Riparian rights for owners of properties adjacent to a watercourse can be viewed here (PDF, 77KB, 2 pages)