Water grants 2015: cross drains (RP5)

Eligibility and requirements for cross drains.

This guidance was withdrawn on

Capital items for improving water quality are now available through the Mid Tier of Countryside Stewardship.

Farmers and other land managers can apply for water grants.

Read the accompanying guidance to find out more about Countryside Stewardship water grants 2015.

How much will be paid

£245 per unit.

Where the item is available

This item is available in Catchment Sensitive Farming (CSF) target areas. It can be used on:

  • farm tracks that act as a conduit for water runoff or pollution; and
  • farm yards to redirect clean water from fouled areas.

When this item can’t be used

It can’t use be used to manage or redirect heavily polluted effluents and slurries.

How this item will benefit the environment

This item will remove surface water from farm tracks and yards to reduce soil erosion and water pollution. It will help to break the connections between tracks with sensitive watercourses.


Applicants must send the following with their application for this item:

  • written advice from a historic environment specialist if the track is on a historic routeway;
  • any advice, planning permissions or regulatory consents they receive; and
  • dated photographs of the existing site.

With permission from Natural England, advice and consent can be received up until 29 May 2015; applicants can discuss this with their local CSF officer.

How to construct a cross drain

Successful applicants will need to:

  • position the drain so it catches the water on the upper side of the track or yard and transfers it to an outfall where it won’t cause erosion or runoff;
  • redirect water from the drain to a stable drainage outlet such as a ditch, culvert or other outfall;
  • direct low flows to a field or field margin;
  • construct the drain by digging a partially covered channel to collect sediment and redirect surface water, or by constructing a low hump to direct surface flows; and
  • empty channels, drain outfalls or the areas around humps by removing built-up sediment or other clogging materials.

How to construct a channel

To construct a channel, successful applicants will need to:

  • dig a channel across the width of the track or yard that’s at least 100mm deep and 100mm to 250mm wide; and
  • line the channel with concrete and install a gridded top that must be at least 150mm wide.

How to construct a raised hump

To construct a raised hump, successful applicants will need to:

  • dig a foundation trench across the track or yard that’s at least 300mm deep;
  • fill it with concrete; and
  • key in kerbstones across the trench so they protrude 60 to 100mm above the surrounding surface.

All capital works must meet the relevant British Standards.

Keeping records

Successful applicants will need to keep:

  • dated photographs of the site after the work has taken place (submit these with any claim and show them on request); and
  • receipted invoices and bank statements relating to this work

What must not be done

Do not:

  • direct any runoff towards any biodiversity, historic or archaeological features, or damage them in any other way; or
  • allow polluted water from drains to reach a watercourse or wildlife pond.

How to carry out this item

The following section gives advice on carrying out this item successfully.

Using this item with other measures

Successful applicants should use this item with other measures, such as buffer strips, sediment traps, swales and dams, to slow the velocity of water across their land and prevent pollutants travelling towards watercourses. They should follow best practice for reducing soil erosion and increasing water infiltration in fields.

How to choose a site for your drain

Successful applicants should divert any water draining from the surrounding land before it flows on to their track or yard. Do this by placing drains at intervals along slopes. The number of drains needed will increase with the length or steepness of the slope. The distance between the drains will vary according to the site, but they must be close enough to collect all heavy surface flows.

How to manage drain outfall

Outfall from the drains should be directed to a specially created temporary water storage area. This will allow water to infiltrate the ground and will protect existing watercourses. It’s essential to do this if the water is likely to be polluted (eg if livestock use the track or yard, or if there’s a possibility of a chemical spill). Direct low flows to a well-managed, tussocky grass field margin. Use item RP7 - Sediment ponds and traps or RP11 - Swales to create a temporary water storage area.

How to maintain structures

Structures should be checked for a build-up of sediment or other clogging pollutants after heavy rainfall. They should also be checked after agricultural activities have taken place that is likely to shift soil to the track (eg the movement of muddy machines or livestock).

Where to position tracks

If possible, tracks should be positioned so they don’t run directly downhill or carry pollutants directly between fields or farms and watercourses.

Consider using this item if you’re using item RP4 - Livestock and machinery tracks in a place where runoff is still likely to be a problem.

The following items can be used on the same area as this item:

Further information

The management of water on land can be improved by using Rural Sustainable Drainage Systems guide.

Published 2 March 2015