Last edited 27 Aug 2020

Main river

A main river is: ‘A watercourse in England or Wales shown as a main river on a map prepared by the Environment Agency or Natural Resources Wales under the Water Resources Act 1991. The main river designation includes the watercourse, its banks and any connected drainage works. In England the Environment Agency has permissive powers to carry out flood defence works on main rivers but responsibility for maintenance remains with the riparian owner. Natural Resources Wales has the same permissive powers in Wales. Watercourses not designated as main river are known as ordinary watercourses.’

Ref Culvert, screen and outfall manual, (CIRIA C786) published by CIRIA in 2019.

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