Making changes to a watercourse

As Lead Local Flood Authority (LLFA), Hampshire County Council is responsible for giving permission for works on ordinary watercourses

An ordinary watercourse is a watercourse that is not part of a main river. It includes rivers, streams, land and roadside ditches, drains, cuts, culverts, dykes, sluices, sewers (other than public sewers within the meaning of the Water Industry Act 1991) and passages, through which water flows. Water may not flow at all times of the year.
Hampshire County Council’s responsibility

As part of our role to assess flood risk in the county, you must apply to Hampshire County Council for consent to carry out work which may:

  • place or alter a structure within an ordinary watercourse
  • affect the flow or storage or water within an ordinary watercourse

This includes temporary structures. This consent is known as Ordinary Watercourse Consent (OWC), or Land Drainage Consent.

You can check the guide to ordinary watercourse consenting to see if your works need consent.

If the watercourse you are planning on working on is part of a Main River, you will need to apply for a Flood Risk Activity Permit from the Environment Agency for any proposed works. Identify if a watercourse is categorised as a Main River.
Application conditions

For all applications, the following conditions apply:

  • the fee is £50 per structure, with the total cost depending on the work you are proposing. See the ordinary watercourse application charging guide for more information
  • all requested information must be supplied, and the fee paid before the application is deemed valid
  • once an application has been validated, we have eight weeks to process it and come to a decision
  • depending on the location of the site and the proposed work, we may need to consult any number of organisations on specific topics in relation to the application, to gain their feedback. This consultation process may lead to additional questions or queries which the applicant will need to respond to
  • other licences may be required by the applicant for this work to be completed such as consent for a drop kerb, permission from Natural England to work in a protected area, etc. These licences are the responsibility of the applicant to obtain
Pre-application advice

We offer a pre-application service for Ordinary Watercourse Consent. This provides:

  • specific advice on what you need to consider for the proposed works on your site
  • advice about the level of detail we need from you, in order for us to validate the application

There is a charge for this service. Request Ordinary Watercourse Consent pre-application advice.

Application forms and Guidance notes

Standard Forms

In order to simplify the consenting process, we have created five standard forms for our most popular Ordinary Watercourse Consent applications. Please read the accompanying guidance notes before you complete the form.

1. Installation of a culvert no more than 5 metres in length

2. Temporary damming of a watercourse

3. Installation of a trash screen (on an existing outlet)

4. Creating an outfall with headwall

5. Daylighting a watercourse

Bespoke Form

Please complete the Bespoke Application Form form for any application that does not fit into a category above. One application form can be made for multiple structures, if located in the same area or on the same watercourse.

Please send all completed application forms or any enquiries about Ordinary Watercourse Consents to

Payment for Ordinary Watercourse Consent

At present, there are two options to pay for Ordinary Watercourse Consent: cheque or invoice.


Please make cheques payable to 'Hampshire County Council' and mail to:

Flood and Water Management
EII Court West, First Floor
The Castle
SO23 8UD

If you have a reference number for your application, include this on the back of the cheque


To request an invoice, complete this form and submit it along with your application.

If you have any queries regarding payment for the consent, email If you have a reference number, include this in the email.