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Author Topic: Drainage ditch - who's responsibility is maintenance?  (Read 12601 times)

Dreich Pete

  • Joined Jan 2014
  • Aberdeenshire
Drainage ditch - who's responsibility is maintenance?
« on: January 10, 2014, 02:38:56 pm »
Picking up on another post about drainage, I needed to ask what the law says about maintenance of drainage ditches etc - specifically in Scotland.

We have a field that slopes down to the fenced boundary with an estate neighbour, and on their side of the fence is a significant drainage ditch - about 7' across and 4' deep. It runs the length of our boundary from about 50m uphill of our limit, then runs under the unclassified (council) road and continues on for another 50m downhill but then vanishes underground.

The problem is that it obviously hasn't been cleared out for years (our other neighbour reckons not in 10+years) and has got quite clogged with mud, reeds, grass etc and our field is flooded at the top end due to a lack of soak away, and the length of the field is generally waterlogged, marshy and won't fully drain. We have the reeds in the field to indicate that it's an ongoing problem.

I've been in the ditch and made a start on digging a clean run but I did about 15m of the easiest part and was exhausted and only managed to make a tiny difference to the flow rate. I haven't met the neighbour yet but I wanted to be prepared with the right information about the situation. Does anybody know who is legally responsible for it? Is there a "country way" of dealing with an estate that doesn't do any maintenance?

Down the line I want to put in some soak away drainage from my field but as it will have to go into that ditch there's not much point doing it and annoying another neighbour, or worse yet causing the road to flood, until we have the main ditch sorted.

Any help welcome.
Voss Electric Fence

JEP

  • Joined Oct 2011
Re: Drainage ditch - who's responsibility is maintenance?
« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2014, 08:09:25 pm »
all field are coved by an old law the ditch in your field belongs to the next field your ditch is in the next field and you have to keep in good order

Carse Goodlifers

  • Joined Oct 2013
  • Perthshire
Re: Drainage ditch - who's responsibility is maintenance?
« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2014, 07:12:46 pm »
Ditches generally haven't been kept clean in Scotland for a long time due to folk having to get a licence to clean them from SEPA.
I believe that SEPA's views have changed slightly but I would say check with SEPA as to the rules.

If your field isn't draining properly, then your neighbours is bound to have the same issues.
The field drains are likely to be back filled with muck - jet flushing could be an answer once the ditch is cleared.
Is the estate still a working estate? 
Is your estate neighbour a tenant? If so it may be that the estate may have a duty to help clean them out.

Clearing the section that affects you is ok but the rest of the ditch further down stream needs to be cleaned and so on and so forth - it could be an never ending task to get folk to clear out the ditches.

Dreich Pete

  • Joined Jan 2014
  • Aberdeenshire
Re: Drainage ditch - who's responsibility is maintenance?
« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2014, 02:52:28 pm »
It an estate that rents out land for owned farms nearby, but the land adjacent to us is theirs and planted with trees. Apparently the intention was for it to be long term hardwood but they haven't managed it and it's in a bad state - many trees still have the protectors on and are being damaged by them, Birch have now self seeded all over the place, and the drainage on their side of the ditch is worse than on my side.

I've been told that the estate owner loves their trees, but there's no evidence of that.

The ditch is a bit odd because it starts 100m up from our boundary, and only extends about 100m beyond our border, under a road and alongside another field (though it is much steeper and isn't as affected by the ditch. I've followed the ditch to the end and when there isn't much water in it, it just disappears down a hole in the ground, but when there has been so much rain it starts to pool there. As it stands right now, I have a large marshy pond at the top of my field, saturated tracks along the low side of my field, and there is a growing pond across the road. I haven't lived here long so this is my first experience of the problem, but a Baugh our tells me that the ditch has been so full in the past that it has flooded onto the road. Considering it's only rainwater, not river, it's quite an impressive amount of water that gathers in it.then again, it has been very wet here this winter and we are seeing frequently flooded fields & roads all around - though nothing compared to other parts of the country.

I'll go have a look at SEPA and council web sites. I hadn't even thought about them as I assumed it was a private land matter.

shygirl

  • Joined May 2013
Re: Drainage ditch - who's responsibility is maintenance?
« Reply #4 on: February 11, 2014, 02:14:03 pm »
i can only say from my experience. i have a boundarey with the council - and with the farm next dr.
the council cleared the ditch this year for the first time in 10 yrs, they never asked for any money and i didnt ask them for money when i did it the years before but apparently i could have done.

the boundary between my farm and the next - we have taken it in turns to clear the ditch/burn. as they have trees on their side it has always been done from my side but the last time they came they made a huge mess, left piles of soil/wire/broken fence posts on my land etc - so i doubt il let them back on my land again.

Carse Goodlifers

  • Joined Oct 2013
  • Perthshire
Re: Drainage ditch - who's responsibility is maintenance?
« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2014, 08:20:33 pm »
...the council cleared the ditch this year for the first time in 10 yrs, they never asked for any money and i didnt ask them for money when i did it the years before but apparently i could have done...
Angus and P&K councils have been doing ALOT of ditches over the last year.  Unfortunately they didn't take the gunk away - they made a bank of it at the side of the road.  So if we got snow, the snow ploughs would likely push it all back in.

I think after a SEPA farmers meeting last year, some councils started clearing ditches out again.

Still playing with tractors

  • Joined Jul 2012
  • Cumbernauld
  • You can never have enough HP
Re: Drainage ditch - who's responsibility is maintenance?
« Reply #6 on: March 09, 2014, 12:25:32 am »
If the ditch is man made and has a width at the bottom of not more than 1m you can clear it of sludge without a CAR licence from SEPA

ScribbleUk

  • Joined Sep 2012
Re: Drainage ditch - who's responsibility is maintenance?
« Reply #7 on: March 09, 2014, 12:45:30 pm »
Any advice on the best way to clear such a ditch.  We have one where one side the field is elevated enough that a digger wouldn't be able to reach down, and our side which is lower is obviously very boggy and hard to get machinery on to.  Wondered if there was a good dirty water pump or such that could be recommended to help remove the water and a reasonable amount of silt at the same time?

Dreich Pete

  • Joined Jan 2014
  • Aberdeenshire
Re: Drainage ditch - who's responsibility is maintenance?
« Reply #8 on: March 09, 2014, 08:24:49 pm »
Some good info. Thanks.

As the ditch is on the neighbour's side, I should really speak to them about it but they live way along the road and I have a few things to discuss with them. I don't want our first meeting to be about 'issues', but the ditch has caused our field to become waterlogged and as I don't mind doing the work (up to a point) I may just keep popping over to clear the worst of it in little stints.

The ditch is only 300-400m long and doesn't fit in with the surrounding contours so it must be man-made, so perhaps we can get it cleaned out properly without getting into silly trouble with SEPA and their daft rules. Rules that are so stupid that they caused the village of Fettercairn to flood because the stream couldn't be cleaned out. Hey ho: I suppose beaurocrats need to feel useful too.

shygirl

  • Joined May 2013
Re: Drainage ditch - who's responsibility is maintenance?
« Reply #9 on: March 09, 2014, 08:38:52 pm »
if the ditch is on his side - as opposed to between the boundaries like mine are - can you not make your own ditch?

Dreich Pete

  • Joined Jan 2014
  • Aberdeenshire
Re: Drainage ditch - who's responsibility is maintenance?
« Reply #10 on: March 09, 2014, 10:57:28 pm »
I really don't have the space to give up for drainage, but it'd still have to go to the same point to leave our land. I have thought about making a long water feature on the waterlogged land just so it's used for something and under some sort of control. My plan was to plant the boundary with fruiting hedges anyway.

 

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