Flooding and flood risk management

Land Drainage Bye-laws

We have been granted local land drainage bye-laws following approval of these by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) in July 2017.

The bye-laws seek to manage works on, or near to, an ordinary watercourse. They apply to watercourses that have not been designated as a 'main river' by the Environment Agency and which are outside of the Internal Drainage Board’s area. The bye-laws support the existing requirements for consent under the Land Drainage Act 1991 and should be considered by anyone planning works or development within close proximity to a watercourse.

The main controls that the bye-laws provide are:

  • an undeveloped 9m buffer strip to be maintained each side of an ordinary watercourse
  • consents required for permanent works within the 9m strip, including under and over the watercourse
  • restrictions on works that may directly or indirectly increase the flow or volume of water in an ordinary watercourse

Enforcement action may be taken against parties who carry out unapproved works that compromise a free flowing channel, or interfere with access required for maintenance of a watercourse. To identify whether any proposed works will require consent under the Land Drainage Act 1991, or drainage bye-laws, please contact the Bedford Group of Internal Drainage Boards, who manages this process on our behalf.


Land Drainage Bye-laws (PDF 937.8KB)

DEFRA approval certificate (PDF 25.2KB)

Guidance document (PDF 735.8KB)