CLA urges Government to plug ‘hugely unfair’ loophole in Water Bill

17 December 2013

As MPs prepare to debate the Water Bill during its committee stage tomorrow (17 December) the CLA is urging that support be given to an amendment proposed by Roger Williams MP that would limit the potential liability of landowners when the Environment Agency stops maintaining flood defences.

As a result of funding pressures and policy changes the Environment Agency and other authorities are withdrawing from long-standing flood defence commitments, which may have been in place for decades.

This puts people who own land adjoining rivers in a vulnerable position. If they fail to take responsibility for maintaining flood defences, which can be cripplingly expensive, they could face legal action from neighbouring landowners.

CLA Deputy President Ross Murray said: “The CLA believes this is massively unfair, which is why we support this amendment, to limit the liability faced by landowners when the Environment Agency or other authority withdraws from maintaining flood defences.

“The potential for legal action is an unintended consequence of the Environment Agency’s changing priorities, so I would hope that this issue is debated fully by the Committee. The potentially disastrous effects on landowners across the country must be considered before this Bill progresses any further.”