Alterations to a watercourse

Permission to carry out work on an Ordinary Watercourse.

Lancashire County Council is responsible for ordinary watercourse regulation within the county. Ordinary watercourses include drains, streams, ditches, and passages through which water flows that do not form part of main rivers. Main rivers are managed by the Environment Agency.

If you are looking to carry out construction work or make alterations to a watercourse you need to get permission from the county council first, under the Land Drainage Act 1991 (sometimes known as land drainage consent).

Please email your enquiry to you can also use this for general enquiries about the process. Please mention Land Drainage Consent in your enquiry.

You can apply for consent for works to ordinary watercourses by using the ordinary watercourse consent application form (PDF 205 KB) and emailing it through to Paper copies will be accepted but will take longer to process. Please read the ordinary watercourse application form guidance (PDF 121 KB) to help you to complete the application form.

There is a £50.00 fee per structure for land drainage consent, as each structure requires its own consent. This can be administered via one application form, if part of the same site.

Cheques must be made payable to ‘Lancashire County Council’, on the reverse side include the reference ‘Ordinary watercourse consent’ and location details. Alternatively you may provide invoicing details as part of your initial enquiry.

Lancashire County Council should determine your application within 8 weeks. Review of your application will only take place on receipt of full payment and all necessary information.


Lancashire County Council
Highways Department
Flood Risk Management
Cuerden Offices,
Cuerden Way

Tel: 0300 123 6780