Farmers and landowners along main river banks could find themselves being sued whenever a neighbouring property floods unless there are changes to the Government’s Water Bill, says the CLA in the North.
The association believes the bill as it is drafted could leave owners exposed to claims for damage and nuisance through no fault of their own.
CLA North regional director of policy and public affairs Douglas Chalmers said: “This is an unintended and unfair consequence of the bill and the Government must take this opportunity to put it right.
“The Environment Agency is dealing with reduced budgets by withdrawing from long-standing flood defence commitments, effectively passing on the cost and responsibility to farmers and landowners, who could then face legal claims from the owners of adjoining properties in the event of flooding.”
The CLA is also concerned home-owners in areas where flood defences are being withdrawn may have their properties classed as at “serious risk of flooding,” affecting their insurance and property value.
Mr Chalmers added: “We don’t believe the Government foresaw this development of common law which disproportionately affects farmers and landowners whose land happens to lie along the course of a river.”