Pond Conservation Leaflets

Pond Protection

Below is a summary of all relevant Statutory Regulations, UK legislation and Planning Policy Guidance, which govern ponds and the species which live in or around them. It offers a checklist of what may apply to your site. An environmental survey at any level will help you select the relevant sections below. Your Local Planning Authority can guide you in the first instance and if you require more information on any topic the appropriate contact organisation is listed. Further contact details are on the back page.

Statutory Regulations

Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations
a)  Town and Country Planning Regulations 1999. Development of a pond itself does not fall within these regulations though the regulations may apply to the overall development of which the pond is an integral feature or involves certain land drainage operations (Local Planning Authority).

b)  Environmental Impact Assessment for use of uncultivated land or semi-natural areas for intensive agricultural purposes 2002. These regulations cover the infilling of ponds, pools, marshes, ditches or historic earthwork features where the land in question is "uncultivated" or "semi-natural". (Contact organisation: Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs - Defra)

Conservation (Natural habitats &c) Regulations 1994
This is the domestic implementation of the European Community Directive 92/43/ECC (Habitats Directive). The directive requires an assessment of plans or projects on or having the potential to affect protected areas (Special Areas of Conservation and Special Protection Areas). The Directive lists protected species and habitats including some types of standing water, some birds, plants including floating water plantain, fen orchid, yellow marsh saxifage, also freshwater pearl mussel, great crested newt and otter.
(Contact organisation: Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs - Defra)

UK Legislation

National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949
Your pond may be designated as/or be part of a Local Nature Reserve. If so the pond will be protected by planning policy. (Contact organisation: Local Authority Planning Department)

Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended)
Your pond may be designated as or be part of a Site of Special Scientific Interest which is a legal mechanism to protect sites that are of particular conservation interest because of flora, fauna or geological or physiographical features. Under this Act protection is also given to wild animals (schedule 5) and plants (schedule 8) Wild animals include great crested newt, otter, water vole and white clawed crayfish. Altering a watercourse or removing water could affect the SSSI, its catchment or a site / protected species downstream.
(Contact organisation: English Nature)

Town and Country Planning Act 1990
Planning permission may be required to create, drain or infill a pond. The Local Planning Authority will consult their Development Plans to ensure local policy on ponds and associated features are adhered to. Local Planning Authorities must also take Planning Policy Guidance (PPG) notes into account, which set out Government policies on different aspects of planning. The most relevant guidance notes include PPG 9 Nature Conservation, PPG 12 Development Plans, PPG 16 Archaeology and Planning and PPG 25 Development and Flood Risk (Annex on SUDS). If the pond is ecologically, archaeologically or historically important an assessment may be required before any planning permission is determined by the Local Planning Authority.
(Contact organisation: Local planning authority, Local Sites and Monument Record (SMR), Local Biological Record Centre or Office of the Deputy Prime Minister)

Salmon and Freshwater fisheries Act 1975
You will require Section 30 consent to remove or stock fish in your pond. Anglers, other than children, need a rod licence to fish. Removing fish using nets or traps also requires a licence.
(Contact organisation: Environment Agency)

Land Drainage Act 1991
You may require a land drainage consent if you are altering any water course or affecting the flow of water down stream or significantly affecting drainage within a catchment.
(Contact organisation: Environment Agency)

Water Resources Act 1991
Consent will be required via an abstraction licence to take water from a pond or to fill a new pond with water other than from a mains supply. Where a pond is being created 'on-line' along a water course an impoundment licence will be necessary.
(Contact organisation: Environment Agency)

Ancient Monuments and Archeological Area Act 1979
Your pond may be part of a Scheduled Monument (SAM) designated by the Department Of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). It is a criminal offence to damage a Scheduled Monument and consent is required from DCMS for any works that affect the monument.
(Contact organisation: English Heritage or Local SMR)
In addition, the pond may be listed as an archaeological site on a local authority SMR. If it is on the SMR, advice should be sought on the archaeological implication of any works that affect the pond from the Local Government Archaeologist.
(Contact organisation: Local SMR, listed on the Association of Local Government Archaeological Officers Website or Local Planning Authority)

Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000
Protection of SSSIs has been strengthened by this Act to allow increased powers of entry by conservation agencies, penalties for damage, compulsory purchase and site specific bylaws. The Act gives greater protection to wildlife and natural features by making provision for the conservation of biological diversity. National biodiversity commitments for individual species and habitats are to be interpreted locally through Local Biodiversity Action Plans. Enhancement or creation of ponds is likely to support actions and targets in these plans.
(Contact organisation: English Nature)

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