Guidance

Change a water abstraction or impoundment licence

Complete the correct forms, tell the Environment Agency if the licence holder dies or becomes bankrupt and find out when changes can be enforced.

You can view your water abstraction or impoundment licence information online.

If your circumstances or need for water changes, you can apply to vary or revoke your abstraction or impoundment licence.

Change (vary) your licence

Major change

A major change is anything more than a change to contact details. Contact the Environment Agency if you are not sure if your change is major.

To make a major variation to your abstraction licence read the guidance and complete all of these forms:

  • Part A application for a water resources licence
  • Part B application for a water resources abstraction licence
  • Part C application for a water resources abstraction licence

See the water resource application forms and form guidance.

To make a major variation to your impoundment licence read the guidance and complete all of these forms:

  • Part A application for a water resources licence
  • Part B application for a water resources abstraction licence
  • Part D application for a water resources impoundment licence

See the water resource application forms and form guidance.

See the Abstraction charges scheme to find out how much it will cost to vary your licence.

Minor change

To make a minor change, such as updating your name and address:

There is no application charge to make a minor change to your licence.

Reduce the quantity of water you abstract

Complete the form application to reduce a licensed water abstraction quantity.

There is no application charge to reduce the quantity of water you are licensed to abstract.

Transfer your abstraction licence

To transfer the whole of an abstraction or impoundment licence from one person to another:

There is no application charge to transfer your licence to someone else.

Split (apportion) your abstraction licence

To split (apportion) an existing licence between two or more persons:

There is no application charge to split (apportion) your licence.

Revoke your licence

Complete the form application to revoke a water abstraction licence to revoke your abstraction licence.

Make sure you fill in the correct licence number when you apply for a revocation.

Contact us if you want to revoke your impoundment licence.

There is no charge to revoke a licence.

Death or bankruptcy

If the licence holder dies or is an individual who is declared bankrupt, the licence can become the responsibility of (can be ‘vested’ in) their trustee.

The trustee must tell the Environment Agency within 15 months that they are responsible for the licence. If they do not, the licence will become invalid after 15 months.

There is no guarantee a new licence will be issued, but if it is, it may be more restrictive.

Enforced changes to your licence

If your licensed abstraction is causing or could cause damage to the environment, the Environment Agency may propose to change or revoke your licence. This will include adding a time limit to the licence if it does not already have one, unless you propose to make the licence change voluntarily.

The licence holder may be entitled to compensation. However, if your licence needs to be changed or revoked because it is causing or could cause serious damage to the environment, you will not be entitled to compensation.

To help you understand whether you are eligible for compensation, read the leaflet Restoring sustainable abstraction: compensation, or email the Environment Agency Restoring Sustainable Abstraction team:

Email: rsa@environment-agency.gov.uk

Contact the Environment Agency

General enquiries

National Customer Contact Centre
PO Box 544
Rotherham
S60 1BY

Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm

Published 27 March 2018
Last updated 3 April 2018 + show all updates
  1. Updated with new charges introduced from 1 April 2018 following the review of Environment Agency charges.
  2. First published.