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Everything posted by kateat49

  1. Ah OK I understand now that is most definitely something I have listed to raise tomorrow so fingers crossed I'll have a better idea then
  2. Hi thanks for the info. I totally agree with your comments re Solicitors, we (the general public) do rely on their advice too much. Based on what you have said above in all the comments I now have a number of questions to pose to the Sols tomorrow in the hope that we can now move this on. Re the press I've yet to discuss this with my husband (who is unwell at the moment) but if we decide to press ahead on this would you recommend the local press first or should we be taking this more national? and is there any particular one which would be more interested? We are not in an area that is protected or anything. Re your last comment I'm sorry but I don't understand what you mean. Thanks
  3. Hi I have a conference call with the solicitor on Friday and will raise the issue of quantum then UU were advised in December of last year that our plans were to employ a specialist to look at the land and produce a report and we invited their comments. Our last correspondence via our 'employed' solicitors was back in January and UU issued a final letter saying that they were happy that there was no contamination based on the fibre reports that had been issued and they did not take responsibility for any delays that were being caused. Our solicitor at that time followed that letter up quetsionning how there could be no contamination based on the fact that asbestos cement had been found lying on the land but UU did not respond to her even after she chased it. They went on 'radio silence' and there has been no direct discussion since with UU. At that time she advised that we proceed through our legal expenses cover as they were not responding to her letters and she anticipated escalating costs based on their refusal to reply. We have not had a survey carried out as our Solicitors are relying on Environmental Health to produce this as mentioned earlier. I have involved our MP in the matter and he got the HSE involved again but their position was that the matter had been dealt with by the contractors regarding the breaches and they described it as a one off incident so closed their file. There were a number of disciplinary actions taken within the teams and new procedures were implemented. He also contacted UU with our concerns and they replied with an almost carbon copy of the final letter sent to ourselves back in January. They claim that they are acting within the Waste Framework Directive in that a decommissioned pipe may remain in 'situ', however, as the pipe was substantially damaged this does not apply but this is what they are sticking to. Our MP has offered his assistance moving forward should we need it but we haven't asked for his involvement any further at the present time. We are in Cumbria and although my husband and I have discussed it we have not contacted the press although we do openly talk about it to anyone who wants to listen. At the present time we are not looking to speak to the press but if we decide to do so I have numerous videos and photographs of all the works and also a recorded conversation with the SHEQ manager of the contractors who openly admits that there were breaches. Thanks
  4. Thank you for your quick reply. There has been no discussion regarding quantum at all, although discussions have been very limited, we appear to be awaiting the actions of Env Health as this helps a long way in saving costs. If we were to proceed now we would be looking to prove the land contaminated and employing specialists, etc, so the Solicitor has advised its best to use Env Health to do this and save some costs which allows more for the litigation should it be needed. We have no idea with regard to a value for this and will look to the Solicitor for advice. Our actual costs will I think be possibly round about the £5k mark I think based on your reply the way forward is to discuss all these elements fully with the Solicitor Your comments have been extremely helpful and have cleared up alot of questions I had.
  5. 8/6/20 work commenced on our development land (outline permission granted in 2005) by UU to remove a leaking 4mt, 21" diameter section of damaged ACM pipe resulting in an excavation approx 8m diameter and 5mt deep. 10/6/20 Pipe broken up into smaller sections by digger bucket (2 main sections)to remove from hole, some debris was left in the hole, no PPE, RPE or adherance to COS regs (admitted by contractors) 10/6/20 Damaged pipe sections placed back into excavation at depth of 3mt and then the ACM was totally smashed up by the digger into hundreds of small pieces of debris and buried under the cover of night. Again no PPE, RPE or adherence to COA regs. 27/7/20 Raised concerns of burial of asbestos on development land rendering it useless and valueless as believed to now be contaminated land. 28/9/20 2nd excavation commenced to remediate the land, works carried out ineffectually, ie not hand picked, but soil removed with a digger bucket and shaken and only large pieces which rose to the top removed for waste removal. The spoil in the bucket that was left was then placed on the ground unprotected from the clean ground and then all that soil was replaced in the excavated area after large pieces removed. 11/10/20 Found 3 pieces of asbestos debris (differing sizes) lying loose on the land intimating that the excavated area is not clean based on the sizes found. UU advised and visited site but no intention to investigate further the excavated area. Requested a 'clearance' cert from UU or weight of asbestos waste removed to compare to weight of intact section of pipe. We require this to apply for full planning permission on the site. UU will not provide although they have provided fibre tests showing no asbestos found. We have now found approx 12 pieces of asbestos debris (without searching for it) all differing sizes. 9/11/20 Referral to Environmental Health, HSE, Ofwat and CCW. HSE, Ofwat and CCW cannot help. 3/8/21 Envronmental Health Manager, local authority has now taken on the case and is investigating under the Environmental Protection Act and this will hopefully result in UU clearing the land under their notice. Very brief bullet points there has much discussion between all of these dates. I have today requested an SAR from UU. Question: What are we able to claim for against UU? (assuming the land is cleared by them under notice from Environmental Health) Breach of duty of care? (they have admitted to this) Fixed expenses we have incurred, ie, Solicitors costs (prior to case being taken on by our insurers), Civil engineer costs in locating the pipes and marking with GPS coordinates, damages to driveway Delays to development plans? (currently we have only been to commence building one property on a site of 4 until this is rectified, the local council have advised that until we have the clearance certificate full planning permission would not be granted) Compensation for negligent actions? Thank you
  6. Just to add it was all photographed and on video, when asked what would have happened had we not been on furlough and witnessed the event I would not have been detected. I also have a recorded conversation (with permission) where the SHEQ manager for the contractors admits all of this. We obviously also want the ground clean so that the value is not affected and we can continue with our development but are hoping this is dealt with by Environmental Health. Thanks
  7. Hi I'm new to the group and it was recommended by a Solicitor to see if anyone else has had a similar experience with United Utilities. Its a long read and I apologise for this up front. Issue 1 - United Utilities visited my property to investigate a leaking pipe on my development land within our title deeds of our house and replaced the section of pipe (approx 1 tonne). The asbestos cement pipe was then broken up and buried on our property rather than them paying for hazardous waste disposal. This happened in June last year and since then after bringing it to their attention they have returned and carried out remedial works which have inflamed the problem by carrying out the work badly again. The environmental health are now carrying out an investigation and we are hoping it will be cleaned under the 'polluter pays' principal. We currently have a Solicitor and will be taking action for breach of duty of care, significant delays and our costs re civil engineers, etc. They have confirmed in writing that they breached their duty of care and have apologised and offered a settlement of £3000 in recognition of this. This does not cover our solicitor costs, or civil engineer costs, etc and we are looking for recognition in compensation of their actions and the fact that they will now no longer reply to our correspondence. Has anyone else suffered similar experiences with UU or have any idea of what we should be asking for from them? Issue 2 - When we built our property in 1997 we were given a plan of the land showing the pipes by UU and built our house in accordance with this and their requirements regarding the distance we needed to be away from the pipes. When we applied for planning permission for the rest of the properties on our land in 2005 we were then given a plan by UU showing the same position of the pipes but this now had a disclaimer on stating this may not be the exact position of the pipes leading to much discussion. After receiving no help from UU to locate the pipes we employed civil engineers in May 2020 and located the pipes, they were 20 metres away from the position shown on the plan and 2 metres deeper than thought (5 metres deep). The pipes have now been found to run under our garden which we believe will have a detrimental effect on the value of our property. This was queried with UU who advised that in 1997 they probably did not put the disclaimer on the plans but they stick by their disclaimer and are not open to discussion on the matter. Does anyone know if we would have a claim under 'Estoppel' (or anything else?) Issue 3 - Regarding the above, until October 2020 UU have always claimed that they have an easement over our property for maintenance of the pipes, however, they then confirmed that they did NOT but had full rights under the Water Authority Act 1990. I would like to know if anyone knows if this act applies to both public and commercial pipes? The pipes are to supply raw water from the local river to 2 factories and commercially provide an income to UU. I have spoken to a Solicitor today who believes they may not have rights as this is not a public water supply and the Environment Health officer is also of the same opinion but after trawling the internet I have been unable to find out. Does anyone know the answer to this? Issue 4 - I have been diagnosed with Globus Pharyngeus (feeling of a lump in the throat) which I have had for more than 12 months now and the ENT specialist has advised it has been caused by stress of the ongoing stress we are encountering with UU. This is not covered under my legal expenses cover and after contacting many solicitors they have advised that they would not take this on as Globus can be caused by other influences. Noone has reviewed the situation we have had for the last 17 months, consisting of emails, discussions with local MP, EA, HSE, Solicitors, site meetings with contractors and UU and overseeing works and I'm sure if they did they would see why I am currently suffering from stress. Does anyone have any experience of this ? We currently have legal representation provided through our household insurance and have a property claim against UU for issue 1, however, they are not willing to discuss the other issues, do you think it would be worth referring to other solicitors (and paying from our own funds) who would deal with all the issues in one (we personally think this is the best option) as if we have to issue lots of separate claims it would not be beneficial. We really just want to bring them to task over the issues because I think as we are the 'little man' fighting the 'big company' we will go away, but I want them to realise they cannot do this to people. In addition I also want to look after the little tradesman who lives down the road and ends up with his name in the press and a huge fine for burying asbestos!! I would welcome any comments Thank you
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