Who Maintains the Ditches?

Unbelievably Redbridge have been dealing with the question of who maintains the ditches and hedgerows since 2006 and have still not answered some 16 years later!

AHDA has raised this at several meetings, in particular at the Gravel Meeting on 11/5/21. This is what was said:

Highways drafted an outline of which hedge belongs to who and who is responsible
job done? er … NO. Think again.

Highway to speak to several others to confirm ownership and then draw up a plan
job done? NOPE, think again

Highways to consult Planning and then issue a Plan
Job Done .. guess what NO!

Eight months later – Gravel Meeting 24/1/22

Has the plan been done – NO
Have the ditches been cleared – NO

AHDA Chair contacted the local councillors 27/1/22 expressing total frustration at the lack of action.

Councillors pass this to Chief Executive and have spoken to Planning. The Chief Executive is raising it with Chief Officers.
A FORMAL COMPLAINT has now been issued, apparently there will be a collective response from Property Services and Planning Enforcement.

Does the Council already have the answer? back in 2006 there was a report produced.

  • 4. Maintenance of Ditches
  • 4.1The Land Drainage Act 1991 places the responsibility for the maintenance of ditches to the owners of properties abutting the both sides of the ditch.
  • 4.2 Appendix A shows the location of ditches that can be viewed from the public highway in Oaks Lane.
  • 4.3 The maintenance responsibility for these ditches are • Ditch A – Adjacent land owners responsibility • Ditch B in access road – Adjacent land owners responsibility • Ditch B adjacent to highway – Council’s responsibility • Ditch C – Council’s responsibility • Ditch D adjacent to highway – Council’s responsibility • Ditch D away from highway – Joint responsibility of adjacent land owners and Council • Pond E – Adjacent land owners responsibility The farmland adjacent to the ditches is owned freehold by the Council and vested in its portfolio of non operational land. This farmland is let on an agricultural tenancy under the terms of which the tenant is responsible for the repair and maintenance of ditches.
  • 4.4 Ditches A and B do not outfall to an adjacent river. They will act as a soakaway, filling after rain and gradually discharging into the land. Ditch C outfalls to a surface water sewer in Oaks Lane and Ditch D outfalls to a watercourse flowing to the Cran Brook.
  • 4.5 The Council has a responsibility under the Land Drainage Act to ensure the free flow of water in the ditches where it has a maintenance responsibility. Site observations have shown that lawn mowings and hedge trimmings have been dumped in the ditches adjacent to the highway. These will be cleared in April 2006 as part of programmed ditch maintenance.
  • 4.6 The maintenance responsibility for ditches away from the public highway will fall to the land owners on either side of the ditch.
  • 4.7 Cleansing Services will clear fly tipped items from ditches when reported by resident s or Enforcement officers. The routine clearance of litter from ditches is not allowed for within the current cleansing budget
  • 5. Finance Comments of the Director of Finance and Resources
  • 5.1 The costs of maintaining ditches that are the Council’s responsibility are met from within the Engineering and Building Services revenue budget. The costs of flytipping removal are met from within the Cleansing Service budget.
  • 6. Comments of The Borough Solicitor and Secretary
  • 6.1 Section 28 Land Drainage Act 1991 provides that the owner or occupier of the land through which a ditch passes or the owner or occupiers of the land on each side of a ditch may be required to clear it if obstructions are causing problems.

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