Under the Land Drainage Act 1991 Drainage Boards have a duty to exercise a general supervision over all matters relating to the drainage of land within its district. Also contained within this Act are the various permissive legal powers (i.e they are not a requirement on the Board) that permit a Board to undertake the operation, maintenance and improvement of any watercourse in its area. (Main Rivers are excluded from this power). To assist a Drainage Board in undertaking these roles, Section 66 of the Land Drainage Act 1991 allows a Board to create Byelaws that control all activities within 9 metres of all watercourses. All the Consortium Boards have created Byelaws and they are available for downloading by clicking on the link below:

Axe Brue Byelaws 

Parrett Board Byelaws

North Somerset Levels Byelaws

Boards may permit certain works or structures to be erected or undertaken within the Byelaw zone but a formal consenting system must be followed. The relevant Board must receive details of any proposed works affecting watercourses, and grant permission for the work to proceed, requesting any modifications, which may be necessary. Consequently, riparian owners and developers must obtain a Land Drainage Consent from the Board before the work commences (where the watercourse is a Main River, consent from the Environment Agency, rather than the Board, is required). The Boards have also adopted policies on their approach to the consenting of works in a watercourse or within 9 metres of that watercourse. These policies can be downloaded from our policy page.

The Board are in the process of adopting amended Byelaws. Please see the public notice concerning these changes.