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Homeowner responsibilities

If you live near a watercourse, such as a stream or ditch, you may have a responsibility for its maintenance and to remove blockages.

The responsibility for managing watercourses is often shared between the borough council, the Environment Agency and private land owners.

If you own land that borders a watercourse, you are known as a 'riparian owner'. This can also apply to property which is separated from a watercourse by fencing.

Removing blockages is vital to preventing flooding so you should take your riparian responsibility seriously. The Environment Agency can take action against you if you don't maintain the watercourse.

Building near a watercourse

If you intend to build on or near a ditch, you must get permission from the Environment Agency. Even if the ditch appears to be dry, it may be important for drainage and any construction may increase the risk of flooding in the area. Environment Agency can take legal action against you if you do not get permission, requiring the removal of the structure.

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