Ely Internal Drainage Boards

Ely Group of Internal Drainage Boards

The Drainage Office, Main St, PRICKWILLOW, Nr Ely, Cambridgeshire, CB7 4UN

Burnt Fen Consent Form and Notes




Correct waterflow, level control and drainage within the District is the responsibility of the Board.  In order to carry out our role successfully it is essential that anyone who intends carrying out works in or on a watercourse which may obstruct, impede or increase the rate of the flow or introduces water into the District obtains our consent before starting the work.  The reason for this is to ensure that any works do not endanger life or damage property by increasing the risk of flooding or impede drainage.

Please note when making an application it is essential to fill in the application form accurately and for any accompanying information including drawings, maps and calculations submitted to be clear.  In order to ensure that proper details are submitted you may wish to discuss the information required with our Engineer before you make your formal application.

The Authority’s consent is given solely on watercourse shape, flow, drainage implication, environmental and flood defence criteria and should not be regarded by the applicant as in any way approving the design and soundness of the proposed structure other than in relation to its impact on flows and their effects in the watercourse and its floodplain.

For your information the legal provisions read as follows:-


Section 23(1) of the Land Drainage Act 1991 (as amended by the Flood and Water Management Act 2010) provides:-

“No person shall:

a)  erect any mill dam, weir or other like obstruction to the flow of any watercourse or raise or otherwise alter any such obstruction; OR

b) erect any culvert in an ordinary water course OR

c) alter any culvert in a manner that would be likely to affect the flow of an ordinary watercourse.

without the consent in writing of the drainage board concerned.”

(1A ) Consent under this section may be given subject to reasonable conditions.

(1B) An internal drainage board or lead local flood authority must consult the Environment Agency before carrying out work within subsection (1)(a), (b) or (c) if the board or authority is the “drainage board concerned” for the purposes of this section.

(1C)  The drainage board concerned must have regard to any guidance issued by the Environment Agency about the exercise of the board’s functions under this section.


The byelaws include a number of restrictions (inter alia):-

3. No person shall, without the previous consent of the Board, for any purpose, by means of any channel, siphon, pipeline or sluice or by any other means whatsoever, introduce any water into the District or, whether directly or indirectly, increase the flow, rate of flow or volume of water in any watercourse in the District.

4. Any person having control of any sluice, slacker, floodgate, lock, weir, dam, pump, pumping machinery or other structure or appliance for introducing water into any watercourse in the District or for controlling or regulating or affecting the flow of water in, into or out of any watercourse shall use and maintain such sluice, slacker, floodgate, lock, weir, dam, pump, pumping machinery, structure or appliance in accordance with such reasonable directions as may from time to time be given by the Board with a view to the prevention of flooding or any shortage in the flow or supply of water and to the efficient working of the drainage system in the District.

6. No person shall, without the previous consent of the Board, take any action, or knowingly permit or aid or abet any person to take any action to stop up any watercourse or divert or impede or alter the level of or direction of the flow of water in, into or out of any watercourse.

11.   No person without the previous consent of the Board shall erect any building or structure, whether temporary or permanent, or plant any tree, shrub, willow or other similar growth within 9 metres of the landward toe of the bank where there is an embankment or wall or within 9 metres of the top of the batter where there is no embankment or wall, or where the watercourse is enclosed within 9 metres of the enclosing structure.


We are authorised by Section 23 (2) to charge an application fee in relation to the consents required.  These fees are payable to cover our costs for examining the proposals and the amount of the fee is £50 for each application for consent for each structure.

You should note that this charge is payable in respect of each structure and the box on the application form should be completed as appropriate.


When you have fully completed your application form please sent it in duplicate with the appropriate fee and documents to our Engineer’s office (address below).

If the applicant is a company the address given should be that of the registered office of the company.

If the applicant is a firm and not a registered company the full names and addresses of all the partners should be given together with the address from which the firm trades.

Upon receipt of a full and proper application we have two months in which to grant or refuse a consent.  We are legally obliged to grant consent to reasonable proposals which will not endanger the flow of the watercourse or possibly cause any additional risk or flooding or impede drainage.

You should be aware that we have a duty to refuse consent if the work proposed might prove detrimental to the environment.  We are required by statute to have regard to relevant guidance issued by the Environment Agency in relation to the protection of the environment including fisheries which specifically prohibits the culverting of water courses for land gain.

If you receive no notification either refusing or consenting the proposed works within two months of the receipt by us of a full and proper application then we are deemed to have consented to it.

You can be given further information and details of any exemptions which apply under Section 23 on request.


If you believe a consent (under Section 23) has been unreasonably withheld then you have the right to appeal.

Under Section 23 (5) if agreement cannot be reached between us an arbitrator will be appointed to settle the matter.


If works are executed without first obtaining a formal written consent from us we have the power to serve a notice requiring you to abate the nuisance within a specified time.  Should you fail to comply with the notice then we can take the matter to Court whereupon a fine not exceeding £2,000 may be imposed.  Any further failure to comply may result in an additional fine not exceeding £100 per day for every day during which your default continues.




If the consent or approval of a third party is required before you are able to carry out any works proposed, please submit documentary evidence of this approval together with your application.

You may also require further consents from Environment Agency under the Flood Defence Byelaws, or for the abstraction of water.  If in any doubt please contact our Engineer’s office.

Engineer to the Board,
The Drainage Office,
Main Street,
Prickwillow, Nr Ely,
Cambridgeshire, CB7 4UN
Tel. (01353) 688296