Design and Consultancy

environmental design and consultancy

Five Rivers has the in-house proven expertise to assess sites and specify a sequence of management works in order to achieve a specific need. We aim to provide surveys, technical specifications and drawings in order to deliver a programme of capital and maintenance works.

We have a proven track record of successfully designing and delivering ecological enhancement in areas with high public usage, such as alongside busy footpaths and within recreation grounds.

Looking at fish passage options with CH2M Hill as part of the Avon Restoration Strategy

Looking at fish passage options with CH2M Hill as part of the Avon Restoration Strategy

Early Contractor Involvement (ECI)

Early contractor involvement (ECI) is a service we provide to a range of clients including regulatory bodies, designers and developers. We are brought in as early as possible in a project to provide design input and practical considerations such as access and best use of available materials. We can then provide feedback at all stages of the project ensuring any buildability issues are highlighted long before construction works starts. We can offer early contractor involvement at a fixed or hourly rate, giving maximum flexibility for our clients.

Plan and cross sections for river restoration scheme

Plan and cross sections for river restoration scheme

Management Plans

We produce bespoke management plans for rivers, lakes, ponds, grassland, heathland and woodlands. After initial site appraisal and appropriate surveys we produce a phased management plan to ensure a sites objectives are met.

Designs & Drawings

We use industry standard software to produce high quality designs and drawings for a wide range of river restoration and habitat management projects. We provide site surveys and produce detailed cross sections; vital when modelling impact of river restoration schemes for environmental permitting. Where required we work with established partners to produce detailed CAD drawings as well as flood and flow modelling.


We design and implement monitoring strategies for a wide range of drivers, services include fisheries monitoring, aquatic ecology and water quality monitoring. See our monitoring page for more details.

Consenting and Permitting

Obtaining relevant consents for works can be daunting, even knowing which consents are required can sometimes take considerable time. We are specialists in providing high quality and cost effective applications for a range of environmental permitting and consents. Because we apply for a full range consents on a regular basis we can anticipate any problems that may delay your project and ensure applications are robust. We will liaise with the relevant regulatory body on your behalf, saving you considerable time. We offer:

Cross section drawings for typical flood defence consent

Cross section drawings for typical flood defence consent

Environmental Permit for Flood Risk Activities (previously Flood Defence Consent)

As of 6th April 2016 Flood Defence Consents been replaced by a Environmental Permit for Flood Risk Activities. This only applies to main rivers, to see if this applies to you click here. We can advise on whether your works are covered by an exemption, standard rules permit or bespoke permit.

You may need an environmental permit for flood risk activities if you want to do work:

  • In, under, over or within 8m of a main river (including where the river is in a culvert)
  • On or near a flood defence on a main river
  • In the flood plain of a main river
  • On or near a sea defence

We produce all required plans / drawing, environmental risk assessment and management systems. We ensure your application is processed as quickly as possible. It is vital to get applications in early as there can be a delay of up to four months in obtaining consent approval.

Land Drainage and Ordinary Watercourse Consent

Watercourses that are not main river (see here) are classed as an ‘ordinary watercourse’. This includes streams, drains and ditches. The responsibility for these waterbodies varies across the UK, in many cases this lies with local authorities however some areas are managed by local Internal Drainage Boards.

Riparian owners, developers, and all other persons proposing to carry out any works affecting a watercourse are required to obtain land drainage or ordinary watercourse consent from lead local flood authority before the work commences.

We can obtain these consents on your behalf, carrying out all liaison with the relevant authorities.

Felling Licence

We arrange relevant consents for tree works ranging from small private properties in conservation areas to large restoration sites. There are two types of licence:

  • Application for tree works subject to Tree Preservation Order (TPO) or tree works in a conservation area. This is managed by the local authorities.
  • If felling trees not covered by a TPO or within a conservation area you will require a felling licence unless you meet certain criteria for exemptions. Felling licence applications are managed by the Forestry Commission and, current felling licence exceptions can be found here.

We can assist you with all stages of the felling licence, from survey to completion of works.

site of special scientific interest

Wetland SSSIs often contain important a diverse range sensitive species. Works such as vegetation clearance may require consent to ensure no degradation occurs.

Natural England SSSI Consent

Sites of special scientific interest (SSSIs) are protected by law to conserve their wildlife or geology. Natural England manages the designation and protection of these sites, and certain works within them may require specific consent. The requirements for consent will vary for each SSSI, certain activities will require a ‘Notice of proposal to carry out an operation on a SSSI’. We will liaise with Natural England on your behalf and ensure all required permissions are in place.

You could get an unlimited fine for an offence under the Wildlife and Countryside Act if you carry out or permit someone else to carry out a controlled activity on an SSSI without Natural England’s permission. You could also have to pay to repair any damage to the site, so it is vitally important to act early an ensure relevant permissions are granted.


Habitat Regulation Assessment

If you plan to carry out works on or near to an internationally designated site there may be a requirement to carry out a Habitats Regulation Assessment (HRA). Affected sites include Special Protection Areas (SPAs), Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) and RAMSAR sites (wetlands of international importance).

We offer specialist fisheries input to HRA for designated waterbodies. We will liaise with relevant stakeholders on your behalf and ensure the process is carried out robustly and without delaying your project.

Water framework directive assessment

All waterbodies in the United Kingdom are now protected by the Water Framework Directive (WFD). The principal aim of the directive is to ensure all waterbodies meet good ecological status or ecological potential. Schemes with the potential to reduce the ecological status or ecological potential of a water body may require a WFD Compliance Assessment.

We provide the following services:

  • Data searches and review of River Basin Management Plans
  • Baseline data collection including fisheries, aquatic ecology, water quality, flow and topographical
  • Liaison with regulatory bodies
  • Production of a compliance assessment to evaluate how the proposed works will affect quality elements and WFD status
  • Advise on avoiding negative effects, or providing appropriate mitigation and compensation

Our ecologists are full members of the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM) and have experience of carrying out these assessments on a range of watercourses.

We would love to hear from you…

For more information on our Design and Consultancy Services please contact the team on 01722 783041 or email