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Blocked land drain on private land causing flooding

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Re: Blocked land drain on private land causing flooding

Postby blig » Fri Dec 01, 2017 7:17 pm

I'm not quite sure what you mean by: "Another option but not without cost"


An appeal to OFWAT if required will cost time and money to prepare.

As dls says, getting the water company to inspect would seem to be a way forward. There' are also some possibilities such as in https://www.water.org.uk/consumers/advi ... heme-watrs if the water company can't help, or won't inspect.
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Re: Blocked land drain on private land causing flooding

Postby Millbrook2 » Sat Dec 02, 2017 2:33 pm

I doubt the water company would be able to help but it might be worth having a word with the Environment Agency as they have flood responsibility. I had a flooding issue once and got them involved.
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Re: Blocked land drain on private land causing flooding

Postby aitch » Sat Dec 02, 2017 6:02 pm

Thank you dls, blig and Milbrook2.

I will try the Enviroment Agency Milbrook2, I never seem to have much luck with these type of authorities though, but I will contact them next week, I have nothing to lose.

I realise I do not have "unlimited rights" to protect my home from flooding, but I do have limited rights which I can apply in emergency situations. I also have common sense rights. It was was common sense that the fire brigade applied the night I called them out, they just did what needed to be done to alleviate the problem at that time as it was an emergency, they were not considering the law as such.

When I refer to 'waste land', I realise (& know) it is owned by someone. But what I mean is that it is not someones garden or land that is being used by the owner. I have certain rights over that same owners land. Prescriptive easements for access to my garage & parking and the covenant in my indenture "to pass & re pass to draw water from the well".

I have a leaflet from the Enviroment Agency and I believe I am a Riparian owner as this watercourse runs at the side of my house, therefore I share certain rights & responsiblities, as do the other landowners whose land the water flows under and the culverts are situated etc.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publicati ... sibilities

"You have the right to receive the flow of water in its natural state, without undue interference in quantity or quality".

"You have the right to protect your property from flooding".

"If you own land with a watercourse running through or underneath it, it is assumed you own the stretch of watercourse that runs through your land".

"You must let water flow through your land without any obstruction, pollution or diversion which affects the rights of others. Others also have the right to receive water in its natural quantity and quality as explained in the Your Rights Section. You should be aware that all riparian owners have the same rights and responsibilities".

It is an offence to tamper with the natural flow of water in a watercourse. I cannot prove this was done, although I know it was (because I know the full circumstances), however I am not trying to pursue this with a view to pointing a finger, I just want the problem rectified. If I can gain access to the land and drainage system with a court order I can explore the drainage system and hopefully identify any blocked part of the drain & unblock it. The local council Area Engineer from my council has said he would re-visit the site if I can make progress with the landowners with regard to gaining access to their land &, he also said he would make the result of the unsuccessful cctv survey available to me if I go to court and supply a statement to the effect that the owners refused access.

I am going to look into getting a fixed fee interview with an appropriate solicitor. and possibly solicitors letters to both land owners. I think I am going to apply for a court order under the access to neighbouring land act 1992 with a view to getting the land opened up to do a thorough inspection of the system, especially where the 'Well' is situated under the [land A] land. I will ask the council Area Engineer if he can help with the inspection at that time. I will then take it from there regarding any cost of repair and who is responsible or not. Once I have access to the drainage system, it may be as simple as kicking a boulder out of the way. This is not a complex drainage system, its just getting past the owners that is complicated.

Thanks to everyone who has contributed. I will update this post with any new developments as and when they happen.

Regards

Aitch
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Re: Blocked land drain on private land causing flooding

Postby dls » Sun Dec 03, 2017 11:21 am

It says, corectly, that you have a right to defend your property from flooding. It exludes any right to go onto the property of others to do so. The right sees to be directed at limiting your duty not to interfere with the flow of water across your land.

There are no common sense laws.
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Re: Blocked land drain on private land causing flooding

Postby Millbrook2 » Sun Dec 03, 2017 5:08 pm

Do you have an Internal Drainage Board where you live?
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Re: Blocked land drain on private land causing flooding

Postby aitch » Sun Dec 03, 2017 6:15 pm

Hello Millbrook2

Yes I contacted the Internal Drainage Board that I thought were responsible for my area back in September. they are based in an estate agents office 30 miles from where I live. They replied to my email after about 2 weeks & told me that I needed to contact my local council enviromental health dept and The Enviroment Agency about the problem. This was their reply:

"Dear Mr xxxxxxx,

Thank you for your email regarding the problems you are experiencing with the watercourse adjacent to your property. As you will realise this is nowhere near the xxxxx xxxxx xxxx IDB area and we have no responsibility for any problems that may occur in that area.

If there has been some form of watercourse, can I suggest that you contact either the Environment Agency or the local Council which may in your case be xxxxxxxxx Borough Council. They may have somebody, especially the EA, who can advise on this matter."


The Enviroment Agency also pointed me in the same direction, this was their reply:

"A main river can be a beck or a drain etc. The definition of main river means all watercourses shown as such on the statutory main river maps held by the Environment Agency and the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and can include any structure or appliance for controlling or regulating the flow of water into, in or out of the channel. The Environment Agency has permissive powers to carry out works of maintenance and improvement on these rivers.

"As you have not provided your location details, we are unable to clarify if the drain in question is designated as main river. However, you can check the location of main rivers using the link below. Main river are identified as a dark blue line."


I checked using the link they provided but my watercourse is not shown so The Enviroment Agency will not help.

This was when I contacted my local council & the result was as I have previously mentioned that they showed an initial interest & sent a cctv drainage inspection crew, but after waiting about 3 Months decided they would not be willing to allocate any further public funds towards legal fees or repair of the drain.

Thank you Millbrook2 for your response and for all replies, I really appreciate them all. I am at present reading the Rylands v Fletcher case suggested by dls and looking into the "Nuisance & Negligence" torts law suggested by Atticus. All replies are valuable to me.

Aitch
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Re: Blocked land drain on private land causing flooding

Postby atticus » Sun Dec 03, 2017 7:36 pm

Have you since provided your location details?
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Re: Blocked land drain on private land causing flooding

Postby gid » Mon Dec 04, 2017 10:49 am

Once I have access to the drainage system, it may be as simple as kicking a boulder out of the way. This is not a complex drainage system, its just getting past the owners that is complicated.


From what you have said, you do not appear to have a legal way of "just getting past the owners". Your easement only allows you to draw water from the well; there is no explicit burden in the deeds on the other landowners to maintain the remainder of the system other than a flow of water into the well.

If the natural flow of water floods your house, then it is you that has to reroute that flow entirely within your own boundaries as you do not have the right to dig up another's land for that purpose.

This works both ways, as the landowners downstream of you have to accept the natural flow of water from your land, and cannot just come and dig up your land to divert it.
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Re: Blocked land drain on private land causing flooding

Postby aitch » Mon Dec 04, 2017 12:15 pm

Thank you gid

The natural flow of water may well be flooding my house but the drainage system was designed to divert the natural flow of water away from my house (originally the land that my house is built on so that the builders could build on it) and this worked well for at least 100 years. This has now become blocked (it was tampered with) and what they have done in effect is divert the natural flow of water towards my house.

I would not have bought this house under the present circumstances. When I bought the house there was no history of flooding at all. So the drainage system is a modification to the natural flow of water and it has now become defective for whatever reason and requires maintenance and repair. I cannot accept that the landowners are not responsible for the maintenance or repair of the drain under their land. Or at the very least be forced by law if unwilling to grant access (without trespass) to a third party to do the inspection and maintenance work required. I believe the "access to neighbouring land act 1992" is the law I need to apply to gain access when no permission is given voluntarily:

https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1992/23/contents

http://www.peterslaw.co.uk/site/library ... sland.html

There has to be a remedy in law otherwise every drain in the country that becomes defective would result in homeowners having to move out of their houses unable to sell them because their neighbours refuse to repair them. This method could then be used in neighbour disputes of legally driving neighbours out of their houses and their houses would have to be demolished as no one could live in them. Not all properties can be modified to accept new drainage systems.

Regards Aitch
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Re: Blocked land drain on private land causing flooding

Postby aitch » Mon Dec 04, 2017 12:27 pm

Briefy atticus I did not provide my location to the Enviroment Agency as I used the link they provided when they replied to me to see if my watercourse was listed on it as a 'Main River' and it wasnt, so that means it is classed as an 'Ordinary Watercourse' and they will not be able to help me.

This was the reply I had from the EA:

-----------

UTC Time: 29 August 2017 11:39
From: enquiries@environment-agency.gov.uk

To:xxxxxx

Good Afternoon xxxxxx

If the watercourse is classed as a main river, we may be able to assist with enforcement, however if the watercourse is an ordinary watercourse it would be down to the local council to help with this issue.

Kind Regards,

xxxxxx xxxxx

Customer Service Adviser

National Customer Contact Centre - Part of National Operations Services
Tel: 03708 506 506


-----------

Regards Aitch
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