Altering, infilling or culverting a watercourse
Watercourses must not be created, altered, infilled or culverted without the prior written consent of the Environment Agency and Chichester District Council.
Your Riparian responsibility states that you must maintain the free-flow of the watercourse for which you are responsible at all times. Altering, infilling or culverting a watercourse will impact the free flow of water, and may leave you liable should flooding occur as a result of your actions. Creating a new watercourse could create new problems to other landowners, if you are specifically directing water somewhere new.
If you have plans to create, alter, infill or culvert a watercourse, please submit these in writing to the Environment Agency and Chichester District Council. This should include a map to illustrate the location of proposed changes, with a brief sketch stating capacities etc. The Environment Agency and Chichester District Council will consider these and respond to you. Any changes may also require planning permission.
You should also speak to Chichester District Council or the Environment Agency before carrying out any works near a watercourse because you may need to apply for flood defence consent first. Work requiring consent could include improvements to your property or land within your boundary and near a watercourse (such as building extensions, erecting garages or outbuildings, erecting fences and repairs or alterations to riverbanks).
The Environment Agency's National Customer Contact Centre will put you through to the Development and Flood Risk Team for your area. They will be able to tell you whether your work is likely to cause flooding to others and conforms to current legislation. Alternatively, you can contact their Planning Liaison Team by completing a pre-application enquiry form. Alternatively speak to Chichester District Council for advice.
It is important to remember that if you carry out any work without obtaining the Environment Agency's permission first, their Enforcement Team may be asked to investigate and dependent on their findings, might ask you to remove any unconsented structure and return the area to its previous natural state. This could also result in you paying for this to be done.