Manchester City Council

Environmental problems Flooding and drainage


You need to have consent from us if you propose to connect surface water to the watercourse that is not classified as main river or intend to make any alteration of that watercourse as part of your development.

Certain types of work may not be permitted due to the potential increase in flood risk, we can issue consent for a proposed scheme by checking that it does not increase the risk of flooding and that it does not adversely affect the environment.

This applies to both permanent and temporary works affecting a watercourse. Temporary works could be the damming of a watercourse to allow permanent work such as the installation of a bridge.

Only certain types of work require consent - when considering if you need consent, check if the works affect the flow of the watercourse when it’s full to the top of the bank, if the flow of the watercourse is affected then you need consent.

If you are not sure if your proposals needs consent or if you want advice to carry out a scheme then contact us first on 0161 245 7229 as often work may be undertaken in more than one way.

Obtaining consent

You need permission from the appropriate body - is the watercourse classed as an ‘ordinary watercourse' or ' main river'?

  • ordinary watercourses - apply to us; or
  • main rivers - apply to the Environment Agency.

Depending on your proposals, a conditioned consent may be given for you to carry out the work, for example a certain time of year, in order to reduce flood risk and potential ecological damage.

Consent is valid for a maximum of three years.

Sufficient additional information must be included in order for us to determine the suitability of your proposals. You must demonstrate that your proposals will not have an adverse effect on flood risk or the environment.

Your application will be determined within two months of receiving a valid application (valid application includes a completed form, details of your proposals and the fee). Review the guidance notes before you apply. 

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