Water pollution prevention guidelines for UK construction works

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Construction and maintenance activities in or near water have the potential to cause serious pollution or impact on the bed and banks of a watercourse and on the quality and quantity of the water. Some activities with the potential for affecting watercourses or groundwater may require either consent in England and Wales under the Water Resources Act 1991 or an authorisation in Scotland under the Water Environment (Controlled Activities) (Scotland) Regulations 2005 (also referred to as CAR) - see reference 1. In Scotland depending on the nature of the activity there are three levels of authorisation.

Types of activity that may impact upon the bed and banks of a watercourse or of a wetland include:
• repairs, maintenance or improvements to any structure in , over or above main river ( as defined in the Water Resources Act 1991 )
• erection or construction of any structure, either permanent or temporary, in, over or above main river
• diversion of flows
• works within the river channel or a lake/loch
• works within the vicinity of a river, or loch or wetland (in Scotland)
• any works likely to increase the risk of flooding
• works within 10.0metres of a Main River watercourse or flood defence (in England, Northern Ireland and Wales).

There may be local variations in this distance e.g. in Environment Agency Midlands region it is 8.0 metres. Contact us at the planning stage of your project to confirm this.

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