Residents are being reminded they must seek approval before carrying out any work involving streams, brooks and culverts on their land.

It follows a legal case in which a Chaddesley Corbett resident was fined £500 after being prosecuted for covering over an open stream and installing a culvert on his land in Cakebole Lane without permission.

Consent is required for any works that affect the flow of an ordinary watercourse, such as the installation of culverts, weirs or certain bridges, under Section 23 of the Land Drainage Act 1991.

In this recent case landowner Mr Richard Yardley had covered over a section of Elmley Brook and installed a culvert, increasing the risk of flooding and potentially damaging the ecology and biodiversity of the area.

The prosecution under Section 24 of the Land Drainage Act, was dealt with by a magistrate under the Single Justice Procedure, from legal papers which Wyre Forest District Council lodged with the court on 22 January 2021.

The magistrate imposed a fine of £500 and ordered Mr Yardley to pay costs of £194.19 and a victim surcharge of £50.

The case was brought after a senior officer from the North Worcestershire Water Management team visited the site in October 2019 and discovered that Mr Yardley had covered over a six metre section of the stream without consent from the council that would allow him to do so.

In February Mr Yardley was given formal notice to remove the culvert by 28 August 2020. But a site visit in September 2020 revealed that the notice had not been complied with.

Cabinet Member with responsibility for water management Councillor Nicky Martin said: “It is important for residents to apply for permission before carrying out any work that alters the flow of a watercourse on their land. This is a legal requirement irrespective of whether works are permanent or temporary.

“We have seen only too often the devastating impact flooding can have on residents and businesses in our district. In this case the land owner was made aware that the work he had carried out was not permitted. He was given time to put things right, but ignored the opportunity. It is not worth running the risk of being prosecuted and fined for ignoring the law.”

To apply for consent or to find out more visit the council’s website.

This matter was dealt with under the Single Justice Procedure rules. As such there was no hearing. We sent details of the case to the court and Mr Yardley on 22 January 2021 and we have now been advised of a successful prosecution. 

Elmley Brook Illegal Culvert

Photo shows the culvert installed without prior consent.