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LondonlawyerJ, Advocate
Category: Law
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Experience:  Solicitor with over 15 years experience.
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We have an open ditch running along the front of our property

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We have an open ditch running along the front of our property which then flows through a pipe that goes underneath our driveway entrance, and our neighbours driveway entrance. After heavy rain the capacity of the pipe is insufficient to handle the volume of water resulting in water backing up in the ditch and overflowing into our front garden.
To resolve this we'd like to install a larger pipe underneath both driveways, and have offered to pay for this however our neighbour has refused. Where do we stand - do we have any legal right to insist on increasing the capacity of the pipe under our neighbours driveway?
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Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Hi - yes I'm ok to wait a while longer for a response
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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi - I received an email this morning saying that you couldn't find a Solicitor to answer this question and offering 25% off the next question.

So does that mean that you're no longer searching for someone to answer this? If so, how do I cancel the question and get a refund?

Hello, I am a solicitor with 20 years experience. I will try to help you with this. Is the ditch on your property? Or is it on a public road. If it is on public land then it is the responsibility of the local authority usually. It is the ditch that could be argued to be the prime cause here. If so you should contact your local authority complaining about the over flowing.
If the ditch runs along the land owned by you and your neighbour then it will be your responsibility. However it will not be at all easy to pin any blame on him for the flooding into your garden as it is a pipe that passes over both your land. How bad is the flooding and is it possible to fix the drains without touching his land?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

The ditch runs along the boundary to our property and so I understand that we have 'riparian ownership' and responsibility for the maintenance of the watercourse, and we have confirmed this with both the Environment Agency and our Local Authority.

The water flows through the pipe under our driveway and our neighbours (who are downstream of us). The point is that we can increase the size of the pipe under our section, but unless our neighbour agrees to the same then this will not help the flow as there will be a bottleneck at the point that the water reaches the junction with our neighbours existing pipe. Based on this I would think we could argue that it is the inadequacy of the pipe under our neighbours land that is causing the issue.

We have invested a lot of time/money in investigating other possible solutions and have had various drainage specialists provide guidance but unfortunately this is the bottleneck in the system. Without increasing the capacity at this point we are not able to resolve our issue.

How much damage is being done to your garden? Is there any damage being done to your home itself?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
No damage has been caused to date as it's only under exceptional conditions of heavy rain that the pipe cannot cope and luckily on those occasions we have been home so have been able to use pumps to clear the water before it reaches our house. So although the garden /driveway has been submerged a few times it has never reached the house.
My concern is that we may not be home the next time to 'man the pumps' and also our neighbours on the other side (upstream) have bought the field behind them and are looking at options to improve drainage on this field which may result in additional water being routed through our ditch. If this happens I need to know where I stand with regards ***** ***** on our downstream neighbour allowing a larger pipe to be installed.
As far as the upstream neighbours are concerned yo must let them know about the problems you have and tell them not to alter the drainage until the downstream problem has been resolved. They could perhaps be allies in this.
IT maybe that the only way to deal with this is to send a letter to your neighbours stating the problem with the drains you have referred to already. That you wish to carry out widening work to the drains. Enclose a plan and schedule etc. if you have one. Deal with costs of the work (ie that you are prepared to pay for the work).
Tell them about the flooding risk and that if they fail to allow the works to be carried out you will seek compensation against them for any harm caused/losses incurred etc..
I don't think that you realistically would be able to get an injunction requiring them to carry out works (unless there is very clear evidence of a high risk of serious damage).
This sort of letter is often more effective if it comes from a solicitor so you might want to instruct a solicitor in the usual manner to draft the letter.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I imagine this must be a fairly common scenario, so it would useful to understand what the relevant legislation is, and if there are any precedents that would lend weight to my case. Also when selecting a solicitor to write the letter is there a specific branch of law that deals with this i.e would a property solicitor be the correct type if solicitor?
I don't think there is any particular statute that deals with this scenario what applies are general principles of negligence (ie are they aware of the risk to you, do they have a duty of care to avoid harm to you, if they breach that duty is here a reasonably foreseeable rick of loss and harm to you).
As far as choosing a solicitor is concerned follow this link and search under "houses, property and neighbours".
LondonlawyerJ, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 823
Experience: Solicitor with over 15 years experience.
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