Water impounding—licences and enforcement
Water impounding—licences and enforcement

The following Environment practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Water impounding—licences and enforcement
  • Prohibition on unauthorised impounding
  • Exemptions
  • Prosecution
  • Criminal sanctions
  • Civil sanctions
  • Enforcement notice
  • Existing unlicensed impounding works
  • Works notices concerning existing unlicensed impounding works
  • Interaction with the Environmental Damage Regulations
  • More...

Coronavirus (COVID-19): To help businesses cope with the disruption caused by Coronavirus, COVID-19, the Environment Agency (EA) has published a series of temporary COVID-19 Regulatory Position Statements (RPSs). COVID-19 RPSs are intended to minimise risks to the environment and human health where compliance with certain regulatory requirements is not possible due to COVID-19. They also cover specific circumstances where the EA have temporarily amended normal regulatory requirements. COVID-19 RPSs have been issued in several sectors including waste management, water industry and agriculture. Each COVID-19 RPS sets out the circumstances in which it applies and the conditions that must be complied with. If the conditions are complied with, including requirements to notify the EA or to obtain approval to use the COVID-19 RPS, then the EA will not normally take enforcement action. For more information on COVID-19 RPSs, see Q&A: What does coronavirus (COVID-19) mean for environmental compliance in areas such as environmental permitting?

Prohibition on unauthorised impounding

A person must not impound inland water unless they hold a valid impoundment licence and comply with all the terms and conditions.

An impoundment licence is required where a developer or landowner:

  1. begins, or causes or permits any other person to begin, to construct or alter any impounding works at any point in any inland waters which are not discrete waters, or

  2. causes or permits the flow of any inland

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