Developing Near a River? Do I Need a Flood Risk Activities Environmental Permit? 

In accordance with the Environment Agency (EA) and Department for Environment and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), depending on the characteristics of your development, you will need a Flood Risk Activities Permit.   Therefore, you may need to apply for a Flood Risk Activities Environmental Permit if you are proposing development of :

  • In, under, over or near a main river;
  • On or near a flood defence on a main river;
  • In the flood plain of a main river; or
  • On or near a sea defence.

You do not need flood risk permits to work on ‘ordinary watercourses’ (such as small rivers, streams and ditches); however, it is likely that you will need land drainage consent. To find out if your development is located in close proximity to a main river, then use the EA flood map for planning which identifies if a river is classified as a ‘main river’.

You do not need to apply for an Flood Risk Activities Permit if:

  • your development/activity meets the criteria of one of the exempt flood risk activities (provided on the website); and/or
  • you register your exemption with the EA prior to any works.

If you are not eligible to register for an exemption, then an environmental permit must be applied for prior to construction of any works. It should be noted that an environmental permit is separate from any regulations for planning permission which should be advised for by the Local Planning Authority.  There is a fee to submit the permit.

Types of Flood Risk Permits

There are two types of Flood Risk Activities Permits; these are as follows:

  1. Standard Rules Permit – if your activity fits within one of the fixed rules for common activities (on the GOV.UK website). This will involve filling out a series of forms that detail the activities you wish to undertake and which of the standard rules are applicable to your activity;or
  1. Bespoke permit – this applies to all other flood risk activities and involves filling out a series of similar forms to the Standard Rules Permit and involves providing the following information:
    1. Completing a detailed Environmental Risk assessment for the activity.  This will include demonstrating that the proposal will not (1) increase flood risk (2) impact on drainage or (3) harm the environment;
    2. Develop management system describing your method of work and what you will do to manage risks; and
    3. Prepare detailed plans and documents describing the activity and supporting information.

If you would like to find out more information about Flood Risk Activity Permits and Land Drainage Consents and/or have any specific questions with regards to your development then please get in touch with us via our website and we will be happy to assist.

Please visit the GOV.UK website to find out further information.

Look to EA Flood Map for Planning Website

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We provide a number of flood risk services. For more information take a look at our flood risk page.

If you require any advise or have a project we can help with please Contact Us