Environmental permitting—flood risk activities
Produced in partnership with Simon Tilling and Michael Barlow of Burges Salmon
Environmental permitting—flood risk activities

The following Environment guidance note Produced in partnership with Simon Tilling and Michael Barlow of Burges Salmon provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Environmental permitting—flood risk activities
  • Brexit impact
  • History of flood defence consents
  • The requirement for an environmental permit
  • Environment Agency Guidance
  • Natural Resources Wales Guidance
  • When does the EP regime apply?
  • Is the work being conducted on or near to a main river?
  • Definition of flood risk activities
  • Which flooding activities fall outside the EP regime?
  • more

Brexit impact

As of exit day (31 January 2020) the UK is no longer an EU Member State. However, in accordance with the Withdrawal Agreement, the UK has entered an implementation period, during which it continues to be subject to EU law. This has an impact on this content.

For further guidance, see Practice Note: Brexit—impact on environmental law and News Analysis: Brexit Bulletin—key updates, research tips and resources.

History of flood defence consents

The ‘old’ system of flood defence consents, prior to 6 April 2016, regulated activities on or near a main watercourse or sea defence under the Water Resources Act 1991 (WRA 1991), regional byelaws and the Highways Act 1980 (HiA 1980).

Flood defence is the drainage of land and the provision of flood warning systems. Consent was required to ensure that any works did not increase flood risk, damage flood defences, or harm the environment, fisheries, or wildlife.

There was a defence in the case of works undertaken in an emergency, and there was an exception to the requirement for flood defence consent where the works were a licensable marine activity and certain circumstances applied.

The old regime was seen to be unnecessarily complex and onerous. For information on the old flood defence consent regime, see Practice Note: Flood defence consents [Archived].

Following consultation, the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales)