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 of 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 or change, the total cost depends on both the temporary and permanent works 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 2 months 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. This may lead to additional queries which the applicant will need to respond to
  • other licences and permits may be required by the applicant for this work to be completed such as Highway Authority permission for a vehicle access or dropped kerb, permission from Natural England to work in a protected area, environmental permit from the Environment Agency etc. These licences and permits are the responsibility of the applicant to obtain. See Highway Authority Licences and Permits.
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.

Apply for ordinary watercourse land drainage consent

One application form can be made for multiple structures if located in the same area or on the same watercourse.

If you know the number of proposed changes or structures (see the charging guide), there is an option to pay online at the end of the form.

After the application has been assessed, additional payment may be needed to validate and progress your application.

Payment for Ordinary Watercourse Consent

Online payment

It is strongly advised that you contact us before you make the payment for the application fee to ensure the correct number of chargeable obstructions (structures) and/or changes have been identified.

If you wish to, you are able to submit the application online and then make an online payment at a later date.

Online payment will ensure the application can be validated quicker.

If you have not paid online, there are two options to pay for an application for land drainage consent: cheque or invoice.


Make cheques payable to 'Hampshire County Council' and mail to:

Flood and Water Management
Universal Services Directorate
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 of the application fee, email [email protected]. If you have a reference number, include this in the email.

Applications determined

To see where applications for land drainage consent have been made and the decision, view the 'HCC planning application portal'. If you wish to view only applications for land drainage consent, type the letters 'owc' in the search bar.