Guidance

Apply for a new abstraction licence for a previously exempt abstraction

How to apply to the Environment Agency for a new abstraction licence for a previously exempt abstraction (also known as a new authorisation).

Types of water resources licence you can apply for

You need to apply for one of the following:

  • a transfer abstraction licence - to abstract more than 20 cubic metres of water a day to transfer it from one source of supply to another without intervening use
  • a full abstraction licence - to abstract more than 20 cubic metres of water a day for more than 28 days

Apply for a new abstraction licence for a previously exempt abstraction

For a new abstraction licence for a previously exempt abstraction (also known as a new authorisation), you have 2 years from 1 January 2018 to send in your valid application.

Complete the application form for a water resources licence part A to tell us about you and the type of licence you are applying for.

Complete the application form for a water resources licence part B to tell us what you want the water for.

Application forms: new abstraction licence for a previously exempt abstraction.

You can continue to abstract water at your current rate until the Environment Agency has reached a decision on your application. If you need to abstract more water than you’ve applied for while your new authorisation licence application is being determined, you’ll need to apply for an abstraction licence.

Cost of a licence application

When you apply for a licence, or want to vary an existing licence, you must pay an application fee. Fees and charges are set out in our abstraction charges scheme.

Some applications have to be advertised. If this applies to your application, you will need to pay a £100 administration fee to the Environment Agency to advertise your application in the local newspaper. You’ll also have to pay the cost of the advert.

See our notices of water resources licence applications.

Annual fees may also be payable – see managing your licence.

Fees and charges may change every April.

After the Environment Agency has received your application

When the 2 year application period has closed the Environment Agency can take up to a further 3 years to determine your application. We’ll let you know whether we’ll grant you a licence and explain our decision.

The licence will contain the conditions you must follow to legally abstract water.

If you do not apply for a licence

It’s your responsibility to apply for a licence if and when you need one before the application period closes. The Environment Agency may take enforcement action if you do not apply and continue to abstract.

Contact the Environment Agency

General enquiries

National Customer Contact Centre
PO Box 544
Rotherham
S60 1BY

Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm

Published 27 November 2017
Last updated 8 January 2018 + show all updates
  1. The exemptions for abstraction licence control were removed on 1 January 2018.
  2. First published.