My house is built on the top of a hill such that the back garden (16m wide by 20m long) slopes down towards the rear and left boundaries. Each boundary consists of a four-foot high earth bank (planted on top with quickthorn etc). On the other sides of the banks are a field and a private lane.
The problem is that the hedgebanks (consisting of heavy clay soil) trap all surface rainwater within my garden, so the lowest corner (about 30 or 40 square metres) looks like a large dirty swimming pool during the winter months.
Unfortunately, I can't remove the hedgebanks because their presence is a condition imposed by the Local Authority when they granted planning permission for our house. The only solution has been for me to install drainage pipes through the base of the banks - which I have done this summer.
However, the owner of the adjoining field and lane is now complaining about the water draining onto his land. Another neighbour living two fields away, down the hill, is also complaining about water "cascading" down the lane and onto his property. I can't see that the run-off from my garden is causing either of these neighbours any problems - especially when you consider that my garden's rain catchment area is only about 320 square metres, and most of that water is draining onto a 6000 square metre field used only for grazing.
Unfortunately, the rainwater has got to go somewhere - I can't make it flow uphill. And anyway, before the hedgebanks were built, the water would have run off into the field naturally.
Can anyone advise me of the legality of the situation? Have I done the wrong thing in installing the drainage pipes? I would be grateful for any suggestions.
Are you sure there isn't some drainage in-situ, that you either haven't found yet, or isn't working properly?
If the hedgebanks are ancient, they will have been built by people with a full knowledge of how water runs and how not to cause a puddle in the corner of a field.
By law, you have to deal with your own run-off, within your own curtailage, so those pipes would be illegal, unless they are emptying into an established ditch or watercourse, it doesn't sound like yours are.
Where does the rest of your drainage go to, guttering etc?
smile...it confuses people
The hedgebanks are about ten years old. They were erected by the developer who built our house. He turned out to be a bit of a "cowboy" and has since gone bankrupt. I'm sure he didn't install any drainage in the banks.
The rest of the drainage from house roof etc. goes into the normal rainwater drains that serve all the other houses on the development.
The problem is, where the water collects in the garden is much further downhill than these drains. The only way I could divert the water into those drains would be to install a pump. All the mud and silt would probably just block the drains anyway, which wouldn't make me popular with other householders on the development.
Unfortunately, there are no established drains in the field on the other side of the bank. The area where the housing development now lies used to be just a field, and the water flowed freely downhill, from one field to the next.
Its worrying what you said about the legality of the pipes. What I don't understand is why it would now be illegal to allow the water to follow its natural course downhill (i.e. the course it would follow if our banks weren't there) onto the fields. That's the course it must have followed for thousands of years until our banks were built ten years ago.
Would be just as illegal if I were to replace the hedgebanks with open fencing: the rainwater would then flow through following its natural course downhill. That's a hypothetical question really, as the Council won't let me remove the banks because they are - rightly in my view - required to mask the housing development from the rest of the countryside.
Seems to me that I'm caught between two conflicting sets of regulations - unless I've missed something somewhere. I'd be grateful for any suggestions.
Might it be worth having a word with the planning department and ask if they have come across this particular problem before and if so, how it can be dealt with?
For what it's worth, I believe the farmer has every right in law to demand that the water is not led onto his land, notwithstanding your comment about where the water would have naturally run previously.
Could you perhaps install some sort of tank below soil level where the water collects and use it in summer to water your own garden or perhaps just construct a simple soakaway?
If your hedgebanks didn't exist - then yes, any rain that fell on the ground, would find it's way downwards and downhill, usually by natural fissures in the ground - some large, some small, but it would mostly happen unnoticed/naturally.
Once you interfere with this natural flow - by putting in hedgebanks and subsequently pipes, you're concentrating and channeling this water, which will then find an unnatural way to get away and cause problems.
As you're on clay soil, I don't think a soakaway will work, but some sort of sump would, with a silt trap fitted, so only 'clean' water would be pumped into the drains.
smile...it confuses people
An underground tank would ideal Paddys Mum, but it would probably have to be enourmous. My neighbour's are in a different situation because they have hedgebanks along only one boundary and some/all of their surface rainwater runs off through a boundary fence into my garden. That's partly why so much water collects against our hedgebanks.
I don't really think that the water is causing the farmer any problems at all. The run off seems to wet no more than a few square metres of the field before soaking in - and the field is used only for grazing, not crops. (To be frank I think the issue is more one of English newcomers in the Welsh farmer's countryside - but that's by the by.)
However, I don't want to be doing anything illegal or give the farmer any cause for complaint, so I think the only solution will be to pump it out as you suggested Arborlad.
I have never heard of a silt trap before. Do you know where to get these things?
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One thing is bothering me. If my drainage pipes are such a legal problem how come it's okay for water from my neighbours' land to drain into my garden? I would only have one third of the water to get rid of if it weren't for the contribution from my neighbours' gardens.
it would be surprising considering that soakaways are filled with rock / rubble etc - more like 100 gallons if you are luckysubject to contract wrote:Jeds wrote:Dig a trial soakaway on your land. Given reasonable ground conditions a 1mx1mx1m hole can deal with a suprising volume of water.
Correct.....and that surprising volume for 1 cu metre = 220 gallons.
youre letting your university education show there subject to contract
You've let the cat out of the bag there UH. If you didn't have a university education you'd know that practical soakaways are no longer filled with rock & rubble. They are made as prefabricated celluar systems from recycled plastic and hold a far greater proportion of water.Uriah Heap wrote:
it would be surprising considering that soakaways are filled with rock / rubble etc - more like 100 gallons if you are lucky