Our river and coastal maintenance programme

Our work

Each year, Natural Resources Wales spends around £6m on maintaining our defences and main river watercourses.

Our maintenance activities are carried out in line with Welsh Government policy.

We focus our efforts on activities that help us manage flood risk and on cases and situations where economic and environmental considerations justify intervention. The routine activities we undertake include:

  • maintaining flood barriers and pumping stations
  • clearing grills and removing obstructions from rivers
  • controlling aquatic weed in rivers
  • removing silt and gravel from river beds
  • managing grass, trees and bushes on our flood embankments
  • inspecting and repairing flood defence structures

Our maintenance programmes

Our annual maintenance programmes include a range of both routine and other one-off activities. You can see a description of our planned maintenance activities that may be undertaken near you in the Related Documents section below.

Timing of our work

Although every effort is made to ensure that our maintenance programmes are adhered to and kept up to date, the exact timing of specific maintenance work may be affected by adverse weather, flood incidents or environmental incidents. This may prevent the work from being completed as planned. 

Carrying out your own maintenance work on a watercourse

If you own or manage land which includes a watercourse, you can undertake certain maintenance activities without permission. You can check if your proposed works require permission and who to apply to if they do, by contacting us. 

Flood Risk Activity Permit

For other works, you will need permission. Natural Resources Wales is responsible for providing permission (a Flood Risk Activity Permit) for works relating to a main river. Your Local Authority will be responsible for giving permission if the work is related to any other watercourse. Permission is required for activities that might inadvertently increase flood risks either at the specific location or for a community further downstream.

Main river or ordinary watercourse?

You can use our flood risk map to determine whether or not the watercourse in question is designated as a main river.

Protecting wildlife and habitats

Works should not have an impact on important wildlife and aquatic habitats or wash silt and debris further downstream.

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