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Can I claim compensation for water leak on Anglian water pipes


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High as per title above,

for the last year or so Anglian water have been trying and failing to find a leak effecting my property.

 

It has now been traced to a faulty pipe in the road,

Anglian water are claiming this leak may be due to incorrectly shut of pipes by property developers, with the leak appearing over some time 20 years???.

 

My front garden was like a swamp and fencing has rotted away and needs replacing, sections of my drive way have cracked.

I am also concerned that now fixed, the water that has been present to the side of my house could cause subsidence.

Can I claim for damage and potential damage, from Anglian water?

 

Advice is very welcome

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Start with s.209 Water Industry Act 1991 and see where that takes you

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Thanks for the reply. I have had a good look through the act and I am unable to find if I can claim compensation for the damage to my property from the water company. I can see it for pipe laying, being cut off, if a leak on my land and its effects others, my responsibilities, but not if I can claim for water damage from leaking highway mains pipes. (albeit over time). I am starting this claim now but don't want to get several emails and letters deep if I can simply quote the water suppliers responsibilities from the act. It may be that the 'language' is not 100% clear to me, still reading in hope....

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then you need to consider the (almost) oldest bit of law regarding health and safety and that is  Rylands v Fletcher.

A lot has changed since then but that is a good starting point.

in short they have a common duty of care and have to pay for damage done. Now you need to be able to put a figure on that damage and vague thoughts about possible subsudence in the future wont wash. get them to admit liability and agree to pay for a proper survey and them indemnify you for future loss if a problem is found. They wont like it but will hate the alternative if they have been found to be obstructive.

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Sorry to disagree with the usually excellent advice of ericsbrother, but what he has said about Rylands v Fletcher is wrong. The case has no relevance to your situation

 

In any event you do not need to consider possible common law claims against the water company because it has a strict liability for damage caused by leaking pipes in the law BankFodder has already pointed out - s209 Water Industry Act 1991. You say "I have had a good look through the act and I am unable to find if I can claim compensation for the damage to my property from the water company" but the water company's liability to pay you damage to your property is expressly stated in s2019 (1). Pursue them on that basis, their liability under s209 (1) for the damage caused to your house.

 

Just as background to Rylands v Fletcher, it has nothing whatsoever to do with health and safety - it dates from 1866 when H&S legislation still a century away and anyway expressly excludes claims for bodily injury. It's a special type of common law claim in nuisance for compensation if you can't prove that the person who caused the damage was negligent, a strict liability. (Mr Fletcher built a reservoir which leaked into Mr Ryland's adjoining coal mine - budding law students can read the 1868 House of Lords decision here). When I was a law student we always learnt that the liability in Rylands v Fletcher only arose if the defendant had made a non-natural use of the land (eg Mr Fletcher's reservoir). But modern law cases have confirmed many times that water pipes for domestic supply, wherever they are, are not a non-natural use so Rylands is irrelevant. Again for budding law students (as it's 36 pages long!), see the House of Lords judgement in Transco plc v Stockport Borough Council [2003] UKHL 61 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Ethel Street
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38 minutes ago, Ethel Street said:

...but the water company's liability to pay you damage to your property is expressly stated in s2019 (1). 

 

 

Quote

Typo, sorry. s209 (1)  Timed out before I could edit it.

 

Quote

 

 

Edited by Ethel Street
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  • 1 month later...

HI all, thanks for the replies, I have found what I believe to suit my needs in the Water Act, where the 'undertaker/supplier is responsible for compensation' (currently I have lost the exact section etc) . However, after asking ES Water for a more in depth description they have emailed to following.

 

"I can confirm that the leak was escaping from an old private supply pipe. We identified a private connection in Kingfisher Crescent that was supplying this pipe. We disconnected the pipe, but I can advise that we do not have any knowledge of who is responsible for this private pipe.

 

It is our understanding that your estate is a relatively new estate built upon old estate/garages. It would appear that this pipe was never disconnected. We identified that it was over 100 metres long and surfaced on Kingfisher Crescent. This pipe was not connected to any current property and ran between the garden borders of Falcon Close and Kingfisher Crescent.

 

As we have previously advised, we are not responsible for private pipework and having reviewed the extensive investigation which we undertook during 2018, every effort was made on our part to locate and resolve"

 

Is this a lost cause, as the pipe belongs to no one?

 

Thanks 

 

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I fear that may be the end of the road for you. It's s209 (1) [linked earlier in thread] and says "Where an escape of water, however caused, from a pipe vested in a water undertaker causes loss or damage, the undertaker shall be liable...". The water company are saying to you that the leaking pipe was not "vested" in them so they are not liable. Theoretically someone - previous owner of site? property developer or contractor who built your estate?  - might be liable but from what the water company says the likelihood of ever identifying them is remote, and proving liability after more than 20 years would be difficult even if you could find them and they are still in business.

Edited by Ethel Street
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Hi, I thought that may be the case. I may look at another avenue, regarding the same issue but I am sure the end result will be the same. This issues has affected the properties for years in this area, I put in a drain away pipe 7 years ago due to what I was told was a natural spring. Therefore, they have been aware for numerous years of the issue, so I may pressure them on this or at least push them for taking so long to find. 

 

I will request a copy of the investigation report, any suggestions of how to do this, or just ask? 

 

Once again thanks for your help.

 

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I thought there was a template letter on here for making a Freedom of Information request but I can't find it. This page from the Information Commissioner's site explains it. 

 

https://ico.org.uk/your-data-matters/official-information/

 

As you are already in contact with them and they have told you that they carried out the investigation it's pretty straightforward. Just write back to them asking for a copy of the investigation report and associated information and mention this is a Freedom of Information Act request.

Edited by Ethel Street
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sar them

please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..

DCA's view debtors as suckers, marks and mugs

NO DCA has ANY legal powers whatsoever on ANY debt no matter what it's Type

and they

are NOT and can NEVER  be BAILIFFS. even if a debt has been to court..

If everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's Tomorrow, their industry would collapse overnight... 

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must be his info..he started the complaint.they have relied and carried out work to remedy the complaint? part of his data stream.

 

 

please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..

DCA's view debtors as suckers, marks and mugs

NO DCA has ANY legal powers whatsoever on ANY debt no matter what it's Type

and they

are NOT and can NEVER  be BAILIFFS. even if a debt has been to court..

If everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's Tomorrow, their industry would collapse overnight... 

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  • 1 month later...

Hi All

 

Unfortunately I do not think that Essex and Suffolk were responsible for this 'old' pipe, or according to them they were not.  If this is the case then I don't think I can make any claim from them. My other course of action could be the that this leak was reported several years ago and not found and many of my neighbours have had to do work to their gardens to accommodate for the leak. Is this something that could be another idea?

 

Thanks

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It is our understanding that your estate is a relatively new estate built upon old estate/garages.

 

who built the new estate? who owns the land the pipe was on?

 

did they not have a duty of care to connect/disconnect all utilities on the land they purchased?/built on?

please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..

DCA's view debtors as suckers, marks and mugs

NO DCA has ANY legal powers whatsoever on ANY debt no matter what it's Type

and they

are NOT and can NEVER  be BAILIFFS. even if a debt has been to court..

If everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's Tomorrow, their industry would collapse overnight... 

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