Is neighbour's flooding our responsibility?

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Wetwetwet
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Joined: Sat Apr 06, 2024 6:09 pm

Is neighbour's flooding our responsibility?

Post by Wetwetwet »

Our garden has always been prone to flooding over the winter due to thick clay soil and being at the bottom of a gradual hill. Many of our neighbours have also reported flooding issues. We recently paid a groundworks company to install drainage into our garden and level our land. This involved removing a significant amount of clay soil, replacing this with gravel and top soil, creating three channels down to a large soak-away. Our garden was concave in the middle of the lawn due to the clay soil being compacted. This was levelled off and in some points the overall level was increased by upto 20cm but remained the same height at the top and bottom of the garden. As a result our garden no longer floods.

Our neighbours (uphill to us) have recently contacted us to say that they are having severe flooding issues with 'the water draining from our garden into theirs'. They stated that their garden always flooded but that it has become worse since our garden was levelled. Our groundworks have assured us that our water is soaking into our drainage system, and so the additional flooding they are experiencing is due to their rainwater no longer flowing into our garden (as our garden is now a couple inches higher in parts, but level overall).

Our neighbours have requested we arrange something amicably to fix their flooding issues. Our contractor has said there is nothing that we can do to our land (except remove our drainage and accept that our garden will be flooded) and instead the neighbours should get a similar drainage system installed. Is our neighbours flooding our responsibility? Do we have any legal obligations?
MacadamB53
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Re: Is neighbour's flooding our responsibility?

Post by MacadamB53 »

Wetwetwet wrote: Sat Apr 06, 2024 9:17 pm Our garden has always been prone to flooding over the winter due to thick clay soil and being at the bottom of a gradual hill. Many of our neighbours have also reported flooding issues. We recently paid a groundworks company to install drainage into our garden and level our land. This involved removing a significant amount of clay soil, replacing this with gravel and top soil, creating three channels down to a large soak-away. Our garden was concave in the middle of the lawn due to the clay soil being compacted. This was levelled off and in some points the overall level was increased by upto 20cm but remained the same height at the top and bottom of the garden. As a result our garden no longer floods.

Our neighbours (uphill to us) have recently contacted us to say that they are having severe flooding issues with 'the water draining from our garden into theirs'. They stated that their garden always flooded but that it has become worse since our garden was levelled. Our groundworks have assured us that our water is soaking into our drainage system, and so the additional flooding they are experiencing is due to their rainwater no longer flowing into our garden (as our garden is now a couple inches higher in parts, but level overall).

Our neighbours have requested we arrange something amicably to fix their flooding issues. Our contractor has said there is nothing that we can do to our land (except remove our drainage and accept that our garden will be flooded) and instead the neighbours should get a similar drainage system installed. Is our neighbours flooding our responsibility? Do we have any legal obligations?
the neighbours are uphill, yes?
Wetwetwet
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Re: Is neighbour's flooding our responsibility?

Post by Wetwetwet »

They're uphill to us, but our top soil is maybe 1-2 inches higher in parts now the garden has been levelled.

Their garden is also flooded on the other side too (coming in from their neighbours further uphill).
CherryBlack
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Re: Is neighbour's flooding our responsibility?

Post by CherryBlack »

I don't know in which part of the country you live, wetwetwet, but the rainfall over the past few months has been exceptional in most places. Truly bloody incredible.

I suspect they'd struggle to get anywhere with a claim under these circumstances. Also, you have your drain engineer's report, you have added drains leading to a soakaway, and you have made your ground more porous. Oh, and they are uphill to you.

You say they are 'uphill' to you, but also that parts of your land are a couple of inches higher in places? Could you clarify, please? I'm currently visualising that their garden slopes gently upwards towards their house, so that 'most' of their garden is still higher than yours? But that the lowest part of their garden - which abuts yours - might now be a couple of inches lower? So a Q would be - is that where the flooding occurs?
Wetwetwet
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Re: Is neighbour's flooding our responsibility?

Post by Wetwetwet »

Oh yes it hasn't stopped raining here in the North East.

The street runs on a gradient and we are downhill to them. They are on our left, and the gardens are all slightly lower on the right hand side. However ours is now totally level. We increased the level by upto 20cm on our right side where the slope was the greatest and our soil had become compact so the lawn was concave in the middle. The level remained the same at the top and bottom of the garden, but has increased by a few inches in the middle on the left side where it used to be concave. This part is now slightly higher than their garden. However overall the left side of their garden is probably still higher than ours overall.

Many houses in the street experience flooding due to the thick clay soil. Before we levelled our garden at least 50% flooded during heavy rain. The neighbours garden is flooded all across the back, on the left side near the back, and at the back and middle on the right side (closest to our fence). See photo.
PHOTO-2024-04-07-20-21-00.jpg
They always experienced flooding here but it has increased since we had our drainage put in.
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CherryBlack
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Re: Is neighbour's flooding our responsibility?

Post by CherryBlack »

Your gardens appear to be pretty much at similar levels. An inch or two here and there, but essentially at the same level.
Both have suffered from flooding at times, and undoubtedly both would be doing so again - pretty constantly - over the past few months. You have resolved your issue by adding drains and a more porous top layer, replacing the largely impervious clay that had been compacted. Yours is now relatively flood-free. Theirs isn't.

I rest my case, m'lud.

I would suggest they haven't a chance of blaming your garden for this current flooding, when their garden had also flooded before. And, the current rainy spell has been exceptional. How can they possibly prove, suggest, or imply that their garden is flooding this time because of the changes you have made?! Not a chance. One of their flooding areas is on the RH side of their garden, against your fence? Well, on the other side of this fence from their 'pool' is your porous and well-drained garden; if anything, it is more likely that your garden is absorbing water from their side, and not blocking it.

Of course, lack of evidence, and pure reason, doesn't mean anything to some folk, and you will get some belligerent neighbours who will pursue crazy claims they have next-to-zero chance of winning. I hope your neighb isn't one of these? Or, if they are, I hope to goodness you have Legal Protection included in your insurance policy?

So, stick to a mantra; "The current rainfall has been exceptional, and many neighbouring gardens are experiencing some degree of flooding. Ours would undoubtedly be the same had we not added drains. If anything, our garden will now be absorbing some water from your side, and certainly not adding to it."

And leave it at that - no further discussion. No mention of raised levels. Repeat repeat repeat.
Collaborate
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Re: Is neighbour's flooding our responsibility?

Post by Collaborate »

If the natural lie of your garden is that it forms part of a slope then each garden will have the right to discharge natural surface water down the slope. There is unlikely to be very much of this. Some water may also percolate downhill through the soil. I don’t know. I’m not a specialist, but that might also happen. Provided you haven’t interfered with the natural flow of water downhill you should be okay.

Putting in drainage shouldn’t be a problem.
arborlad
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Re: Is neighbour's flooding our responsibility?

Post by arborlad »

Wetwetwet wrote: Sat Apr 06, 2024 9:17 pm We recently paid a groundworks company to install drainage into our garden and level our land. This involved removing a significant amount of clay soil, replacing this with gravel and top soil, creating three channels down to a large soak-away.





Did the company do any test bore/pits to establish the depth of clay?
arborlad

smile...it confuses people
Wetwetwet
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Re: Is neighbour's flooding our responsibility?

Post by Wetwetwet »

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Last edited by Wetwetwet on Wed Apr 10, 2024 1:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Wetwetwet
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Re: Is neighbour's flooding our responsibility?

Post by Wetwetwet »

Collaborate wrote: Tue Apr 09, 2024 7:23 am If the natural lie of your garden is that it forms part of a slope then each garden will have the right to discharge natural surface water down the slope. There is unlikely to be very much of this. Some water may also percolate downhill through the soil. I don’t know. I’m not a specialist, but that might also happen. Provided you haven’t interfered with the natural flow of water downhill you should be okay.

Putting in drainage shouldn’t be a problem.
The water is definitely percolating downhill through the soil. The rainfall yesterday was exceptional with local flood weather warnings. The bottom 1/3 of their garden had standing water yesterday evening, however by 7am this morning the majority of this flooding had gone with some flooding remaining on their left border, puddles in their pebbles and much smaller puddles on the grass and I'd imagine in the borders on the right side. My understanding is that this has soaked through our soil and into our soakaway.
Wetwetwet
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Re: Is neighbour's flooding our responsibility?

Post by Wetwetwet »

arborlad wrote: Tue Apr 09, 2024 10:42 am
Wetwetwet wrote: Sat Apr 06, 2024 9:17 pm We recently paid a groundworks company to install drainage into our garden and level our land. This involved removing a significant amount of clay soil, replacing this with gravel and top soil, creating three channels down to a large soak-away.





Did the company do any test bore/pits to establish the depth of clay?
The groundworks company were also digging the foundations for our extension and so had determined the clay depth from this.
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