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Water Management Planning Guidance for Construction Projects

Water Management Planning Guidance for Construction Projects


head Permits-consents-and-licenses

Identify permits, consents and licences needed for the use, transport and disposal of water on site.

The following table provides an outline of types of consent that may be required, these should be reviewed and further information sought as required. The acquisition of a permit, licence or consent may limit the way in which you handle water use and disposal on site and should therefore be considered early in the planning process.

Where a consent, licence or permit has been supplied, the site is required to operate within the relevant requirements. This may include measuring and monitoring activities such as sustaining records of discharge according to consented parameters (sampling, photo evidence, daily records in site diary etc) and often a method of silt/sediment control (e.g. a settlement tank) prior to discharge of the water.

Remember to extend the consent if the time period is inadequate, and should site activity cease ahead of the anticipated timetable the consent should be revoked.

Appropriate procedures should be followed for surrendering permits, consents and licences at the end of the construction project.

Permission Activity England Wales Scotland NI
Abstraction licence Removal of water from a watercourse / groundwater Water abstraction Abstraction regime Application Information
  Over-pumping from one watercourse to another or within the same watercourse
Impounding Licence Damming / holding back a watercourse
Environmental Permit Discharge of water / effluent into a watercourse* Environmental permitting Discharge activities Industrial and Private Sewage
Agreement to use herbicides in or near water Use of herbicides near water Invasive species Application Forms Agricultural regulations
Trade effluence discharge consent/ Groundwater permit Discharge of water / effluent into the sewage system. Identify the relevant sewerage undertaker to liaise with. Discharge of any water other than ‘clean uncontaminated rainwater’. Water and Sewerage Operators Trade Effluent Trade effluent discharge
Development Licence Works that may impact protected flora / fauna Licences Protected species licensing Species licensing Wildlife Licensing
Fish or Fisheries Fish removal Licences Protected species licensing Species licensing Wildlife Licensing
Flood Defence Consent (England and Wales) Controlled Activity Regulations (Scotland) Work in, over, under or near a main river or a flood defence (including a sea defence) Apply for a Flood Defence Consent Flood defence consent Controlled Activity Regulations Planning and Flood Risk
Marine Deposit or removal of a substance or object below the mean high water springs mark or in any tidal river to the extent of the tidal influence Environmental permitting Marine licensing Marine Construction (2011) Marine Licence Applications

* Environment Agency Position Statement on temporary water discharges from excavations (June 2013)

Environment Agency approach

Will not require an application for an environmental permit for discharges of water from excavations provided :

  • the discharge is temporary, for an overall period of less than 3 months,
  • the discharge is made to a surface water (such as a river, stream or the sea),
  • the discharge does not pollute the surface water or adversely affect aquatic life,
  • the discharge location is not within, or less than 500 metres upstream of a riverine or marine European site (see below) or SSSI, or within a site designated for nature conservation (such as NNR, LNR, Local Wildlife Sites).
  • The discharge does not cause flooding from the surface water,
  • The discharge does not cause erosion of the banks or bed of the surface water,
  • Work on the site must follow the advice in Pollution Prevention Guideline No 6 “Working at Construction and Demolition Sites”.