Flood risk activity exemptions

Find out if you need to register a flood risk activity exemption

You can register an exemption if you meet the specific conditions set out in the technical guidance for flood risk activity exemptions. It is a criminal offence to carry out an exempt activity without meeting the appropriate conditions.

It is free to register an exemption.

Exempt flood risk activities:

  • the erection of an electrical cable service crossing over a main river
  • the erection of a service crossing below the bed of a main river by directional drilling not involving an open cut technique
  • service crossings attached to the outside of existing structures over a main river
  • the construction of footbridges
  • the maintenance of raised river or sea defences
  • the maintenance of structures within the channel of a main river other than raised river or sea defences
  • the construction of a drinking bay on the bank of a main river
  • the construction of access platforms on the bank of a main river or that project into or over a main river
  • the construction of small outfall pipes and headwalls to main rivers
  • the repair and protection of main river banks using natural materials
  • repair of bank slips and erosion
  • the installation of channel habitat structures made of natural materials (excluding weirs and berms)
  • the installation of rafts for survey
  • gravel cleaning for fish-spawning beds
  • construction of eel pass devices on existing structures
  • construction of fish passage notches on an existing impoundment
  • the excavation of scrapes and shallow wetland features in a floodplain
  • construction of bankside wildlife refuge structures
  • improvement works for tracks and paths

If you need to undertake temporary works (for example use scaffolding or coffer dams in the channel), contact us to discuss if a bespoke permit might be needed.

Register an exemption

Complete the application form to register an exemption.

You will need to include:

  • the name and address of the individual or organisation responsible for carrying out the flood risk activity
  • the 12-digit national grid reference where the exempt work is being carried out
  • a location plan of where the work will be carried out

Once registered, your exemption details will appear on the flood risk activity exemption public register.