‘Water Bill must address issue of flood liability’, says CLA

02 December 2013

The CLA today (26 November) said it is vital that a clause limiting the liability in private nuisance for landowners situated on riverbanks is introduced into the Water Bill.

The Association said it was unfair that landowners must either foot the bill for flood defences where the Environment Agency has withdrawn from maintenance, or potentially face legal claims "in private nuisance" from neighbouring landowners. 

CLA President Henry Robinson said: "Landowners should not have to stump up huge costs to pay for a shortfall resulting from the Environment Agency withdrawing from flooding defence commitments.

"We have discovered that landowners along a river bank, who may not benefit from flood defences, potentially face legal claims in private nuisance if they do not pay up once these flood defences are no longer maintained.

"A provision must be added to the Water Bill to allow landowners to satisfy any liability in private nuisance from an affected third party.

"This may be possible by inviting neighbouring landowners to carry out any necessary upkeep of existing former flood defences themselves."