Drainage 2


On this Page:

Contact us:
Land Drainage Consent:
Planning Consultations:
Watercourses - Riparian Responsibilities:
Reporting Drainage Problems:
Groundwater and Surface Water:


Contact Us:

Contact us at land.drainage@arun.gov.uk for all matters relating to Drainage in Arun:

  • Land Drainage Consenting.
  • Surface water drainage in respect to new developments.
  • Land Drainage enforcement.
  • General queries and advice.
  • Your responsibilities with regard to ditches, culverts, streams or other ordinary watercourses on or adjacent to your property.

In addition to the matters listed above and on the following pages, we work closely with West Sussex County Council [WSCC], Southern Water, The Environment Agency [EA], local Parish councils and flood and community groups. 

We carry out flood alleviation schemes, non-prejudiced land drainage based works and infrastructure improvements.  If you would like more information about the works we can undertake or how we could assist with a potential scheme (from design, to sourcing funding, to implementation), then please contact us on the e-mail address listed above. 


Land Drainage Consent:

Any works to: change the flow, discharge to, erect or remove a culvert, or create any impediment to flow in any ordinary watercourse will require Land Drainage Consent.  Arun District Council undertakes all consenting in this District on behalf of WSCC, the Lead local Flood Authority [LLFA].  In addition, we assist with Land Drainage Consents for Chichester District Council. 

Ordinary watercourses include streams, culverts (pipe or covered channel), drains, ditches and passages through which water flows that do not form part of the ‘Main River’ network or the River Arun Internal Drainage District.

Even if you have Planning Permission or other consents, you may still require Land Drainage consent for works to watercourses.

The application form and further guidance (in particular the culverting policy) are available from West Sussex County Council.

For works on or near a Main River or an Internal Drainage District watercourse, or flood defence you will need consent (in the form of an Activity Permit) from the Environment Agency.


Planning Consultations:

Engineering Services are consulted on all planning applications in the Lidsey Treatment Catchment area and all applications of more than two units in the remainder of the District, or wherever watercourses are affected.

Applicants are encouraged to consider surface water drainage at the earliest stage of the planning process.  It is not uncommon for pre-commencement conditions to be requested on Planning Applications. It is wise to ensure that any site can be effectively drained (using SuDS principles) before making an application, so that an applicant can be confident that likely Planning conditions can be met.

Applicants are guided to check the Supplementary Requirements for Surface Water Drainage Proposals before making a submission.  It is worth highlighting that winter groundwater monitoring and infiltration testing are fundamental parts of the design process.  Both are specified within our standard conditions.  A failure to understand these requirements or adequately complete the monitoring/testing can result in extensive delays to projects due to the requirement that both are done in winter conditions.  It is strongly recommended that applicants contact this department at land.drainage@arun.gov.uk before undertaking or funding any monitoring or testing, to ascertain exactly what the requirement is for their particular site, as this will vary depending on the size of the development and its location.

In addition, applicants should complete and submit a copy of our Drainage Checklist when looking to discharge conditions or avoid pre-commencement conditions.


Watercourses - Riparian Responsibilities:

You are known as a ‘Riparian Owner’ if you have a watercourse, ditch, stream, river or culvert within or adjacent to your property boundary.  In some cases, a watercourse may be unowned in which case the adjacent owners are responsible up to the centre line.   

As a riparian owner, you have the responsibility to maintain the flow of water through or adjacent to your property. These are set out in the Public Health Act 1936, the Land Drainage Acts of 1991 & 1994 (as amended by the Flood & Water Management Act 2010), the Water Resources Act 1991. Arun also has its own local Land Drainage Byelaws.

Arun District Council works on behalf of West Sussex County Council (the Lead Local Flood Authority) to identify where watercourses in this District and Chichester District have become obstructed, inform and advise riparian owners and if necessary, carry out enforcement of riparian responsibilities.  

For more information, please see the Rights and responsibilities of living by a watercourse.pdf [pdf] 228KB, and relevant West Sussex County Council and EA produced documents. 


Reporting Drainage Problems:

Ditches and Watercourses
Main Rivers

Main Rivers are the watercourses shown on Environment Agency Main River Map. Responsibility lies with the riparian owner however, the Environment Agency has powers to undertake maintenance of Main Rivers. 

Ordinary watercourses

Ordinary watercourses include all ditches and watercourses not designated as main rivers by the Environment Agency. Responsibility lies with the riparian owner and enforcement is undertaken by Arun District Council, on behalf of West Sussex County Council, the Lead Local Flood Authority.  To report any drainage problems where enforcement may be required please email land.drainage@arun.gov.uk.                  

Internal Drainage District

The River Arun Internal Drainage District is an area where there is special drainage need and is currently managed by the Environment Agency.



Trunk roads

Drainage issues on trunk roads such as the A27 should be reported to Highways England.

Other public roads

Drainage issues on all other public roads in the district should be reported to the Highways department at West Sussex County Council.            


Groundwater and Surface Water:

Flooding from groundwater and surface water should be reported to West Sussex County Council.




Public sewers and lateral drains are the responsibility of Southern Water.  Information on what to do in an emergency, including reporting sewer flooding to Southern Water can be found here.                 


Cesspits and drains serving only one property within the property boundary are the responsibility of the property owner. More information about the transfer of private sewers is available from Southern Water.

Sewers - Cesspits




How to prepare for flooding and what to do during and after a flood

West Sussex County Council provide comprehensive advice and links for how to prepare for, report or recover from a flooding event.  Please visit their website for further detail.