Do I need a permit to discharge surface water?

If the water is clean surface run-off, for example, from a roof, road, pathway or clean hardstanding area, you do not need an environmental permit.

If you discharge surface water that could become contaminated (for example, with oil), you should refer to our Pollution Prevention Guidelines (PPGs) for advice, especially:

Other PPGs may also be relevant depending upon the nature of your site and the activities that take place there:

If surface water does become contaminated we will only issue a permit if stopping the contamination is unsustainable and the contamination would not pollute the receiving water.

Surface water from roads and car parks should be uncontaminated if it has passed through a well-designed and maintained interceptor.

Trade effluents, such as washwater or cooling water, should be kept separate from surface water. Any trade effluents discharged to controlled waters do require an environmental permit.

Further information

If you need any further information on discharging surface water to a watercourse or to land, please contact our National Customer Contact Centre on 0370 8506506 or email: