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Road drainage into field

Does anyone know the legalities about allowing road surface water drain into your field? It's a very small country lane but I don't particularly want surface water in it. I could easily block the area where the water runs in but would rather try and sort something out that will keep everyone happy. If it means I'm going to have to pay for a ditch to be dug I'd rather get someone to help with costs.

Get in touch with your local water authority and see what they have to say.
Rob R

Block it & tell the council. If you ask them you could still be waiting for something to be done in ten years time.

I was going to talk to my local council but wanted to know roughly what the law is before I get told something else.

I can't find much out about roads. I know you have to accept the water from the field above yours for example, but if they over spread slurry do you have to accept that as well?
Rob R

There isn't much about roads in law, especially ancient routes such as most country roads are. As a result there are a lot of grey areas. You can certainly sue the council if they are deliberately flooding your land to save clearing drains. Most roads drain into private ditches though, it tends to be only modern roads that have their own.

In my experience it's a lot quicker to stop the council taking the easy way out and leave them with the problem than it is to let them continue and try to get them to take responsibility.

I have spent literally hours discussing this in meetings, doing site visits etc. If you find a way to get SWW to take any notice what-so-ever please let me know how!

We did get them to put a swale in once about five years ago. (Actually, no that wasn't SWW it was a building company who had put a load of new build housing in)

I don't think SWW would care in my case, surely if it's road water then it's a council problem? And due to the law that says the more council tax you pay the fewer services you get I don't expect them to do much.

However, I would like to know my responsibilities before I do anything, I could block the gateway where the water drains as I don't need it, but that'll lead to other problems such as the road being 2 foot under water.

The main question I have at the moment is if I dig a ditch to a stream and then slurry drains into the stream who's fault is it?

Regarding your concern about slurry contamination I would have thought that would have been a question for the Environment Agency (England??) or Natural Resources Wales as it is called here in Wales. NRW were very helpful when there were issues with slurry getting into the water courses near us. The Environment Agency could also give advice about water drainage from a road onto the field.

Water COMPANIES are not generally responsible for new surface water drainage from homes, roads, hard standing or fields. they are obliged to take surface water from historic combined drainage system, maily in urban areas.

This may help
Rob R

The road being under water isn't your problem, it is the land owners problem, ie the council. As long as you provide the solution they don't have a problem so they don't have to do anything to rectify it, regardless of the law.

If you dig a ditch and someone spreads slurry within 10m of that ditch, it is the spreaders problem. If you dig a ditch to within 10m of a slurry store you may be sued but, iirc, all slurry stores should be in excess of 10m from the property boundary, so if the land has been sold off in the meantime your solicitor should have picked up on it in the searches. As roobarb says though, that is the EA's department to advise upon.

If I block the gateway everyone in the area will hold me responsible even if it's the councils problem. If the council then solve it I may not like their solution so I'd rather work with them for now.

I've spoken to the roads and transport section of the county council and someone should be coming out to take a look.
Rob R

Good luck. We've had no luck getting drainage problems sorted despite everyone notifying them of the problems. Their solution is to dig grips to let the water into the ditches, which then act as tank traps, meaning cars can't pull off when they meet a lorry. Highways don't care - they come out and take a look, declare it as 'ok' on their paperwork and then go way again. It'll take someone having an accident before they'll do anything, near misses don't seem to count (presumably because they think such events are made up).
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