You should discuss your plans to undertake work on or near a watercourse with Ceredigion County Council as early as possible.

This will allow us to let you know whether you need an Ordinary Watercourse Consent (or any other relevant consent) before doing the works.

An assessment under an Ordinary Watercourse Consent application will take many environmental factors into account before authorising work, and these include flood risk, wildlife conservation, fisheries, tidal limits and the reshaping of the river and landscape.

Under the Land Drainage Act 1991, you need consent from Ceredigion County Council as your local flood risk management authority for any works that will create or alter a mill dam, weir or other similar obstruction to the flow of an ordinary watercourse, which includes any proposals to install culverts or alter them in a manner that would be likely to affect the flow of water. Ordinary watercourses are defined in Section 13 of the A guide to your rights and responsibilities of riverside ownership in Wales document.

The current application fee is £50 per structure.

It should be noted that Ceredigion County Council operates a non-culverting policy, as it is generally accepted that culverts increase the risk of flooding (through blockage and lack of maintenance) and degrade the ecology of a watercourse.

Culverts may be considered where access over a watercourse is required, however, any culverts which are consented will have a minimum internal diameter of 600mm.

Just as the Land Drainage Act 1991 requires you to have consent from Ceredigion County Council for works within an Ordinary Watercourse, the Water Resources Act 1991 and associated byelaws require you to contact Natural Resources Wales to apply for formal consent for works in, over, under or adjacent to main rivers.

If in doubt as to whether the watercourse in/on which you propose to undertake works is an Ordinary Watercourse or Main River, please contact Ceredigion County Council on the details provided and we will be able to clarify that for you.

Once preliminary details have been agreed, you can complete the application form and return it to the Authority with the appropriate fee.

Ceredigion County Council will decide whether or not they agree to the works within two months.

You can appeal against the decision if you think consent has been refused unreasonably. You will be told more about the appeals procedure if the authority decides to refuse consent.

You must not do any work without consent. If you do, it could be expensive.

Ceredigion County Council can reclaim from you the cost of whatever action they decide is necessary to remove or alter your work. Ceredigion County Council can also require you to put things right. If you fail to comply with a notice to rectify problems you may face criminal charges.

During its assessment of an application under the Ordinary Watercourse Consent process, Ceredigion County Council does not assess or approve the design of a structure or check whether your plan complies with other legislation (such as health and safety), neither does it allow you to carry out works on land or rivers that you do not own. You must have the landowner’s permission as well as the consent.