The regulatory requirements for using water are ever-increasing. The ability to manage the effect of changing weather patterns and rising sea levels is presenting new challenges for farmers, landowners and partner organisations. To advise and support those working with water, we have established the first Water and Flood Management law team.
Our position in the East Midlands has given us extensive experience of supporting landowners, and those producing high-value irrigated crops in reclaimed land which is dependent on its drainage system. The area has experienced coastal flooding, most recently in the storm surge of 2013, and is addressing the issues of improving flood defences and managed retreat.
Our clients, however, are nationwide and come to us because of our experience and knowledge of this complex and developing area of law, knowing they will be dealing with specialists providing practical and proactive advice.
We can advise and assist with:
- the establishment and registration at H M Land Registry of legal boundaries affected by the processes of accretion and diluvion and also the implications of managed coastal retreat for landowners and tenants;
- agreements between landowners, drainage boards and the Environment Agency for partnerships to maintain and improve sea defences using Grant In Aid funding and in kind contributions;
- working with insurance companies and underwriters on flood related insurance claims;
- the delivery and implications of new tidal barriers as part of a flood defence project to maintain the availability of land for use and development;
- the effective assessment of flood risk within the National Planning Policy Framework, particularly working with the requirements for Environment Impact Assessments and Environment Statements to support planning applications and the drafting of supporting Section 106 agreements;
- suggestions by the Environment Agency that unused water abstraction licences should be revoked;
- the transfer of water abstraction licences, remedying defective licences, the surrender variation and issue of new licences;
- orders to clean ditches under the Land Drainage Act 1991;
- requirements of the Reservoirs Act 1975;
- the trading of licences and the impact of the Water Act 2003 on land sales;
- liability and prosecutions for the pollution of water and contamination of drinking water;
- the installation and adoption of water drains and sewers and responsibility for ownership of rivers and drains including duties arising from riparian ownership;
- the powers, duties and liabilities of Government agencies for the maintenance of sea defences and the use of inland flood management techniques;
- nuisance/negligence claims against neighbouring landowners resulting from the passage of flood water, works of improvement to drainage systems and works affecting existing neighbours' drainage systems;
- the development of sole use and joint venture private irrigation systems including reservoirs and the negotiation of easements for the supply of water across neighbouring land;
- Internal Drainage Boards and landowners on their powers under byelaws issued by authority of the Land Drainage Act 1976 including derogations granted from them.
Water and flood management often involves a multidisciplinary approach bringing together experts in agriculture, land, business and collaboration. Our team has been developed to offer this comprehensive service whatever the challenges or opportunities you face.