Farming Company Triumphs in Flood Damage Test Case
In a ruling which gave hope to thousands of flooding victims, a farming company whose carrot crop was inundated following record rainfall has triumphed in a test case fight for compensation. The decision means that local authorities will have to pay out large sums to those whose property is deliberately flooded to divert water away from built-up areas.
After a stream burst its banks, a local authority, with the assistance of the fire service and the Environment Agency, pumped a large volume of water into the company’s field over several days. The carrot crop was sacrificed in order to save houses in a nearby village from inundation. In those circumstances, the company sought compensation for its loss under the Land Drainage Act 1991.
In upholding the company’s claim, the Upper Tribunal (UT) found that the council had taken the lead in managing the flood risk and, by virtue of Section 14 of the Act, was obliged to pay full compensation for the damage caused by the pumping operation. The company’s payout was agreed at £14,500.
The UT noted that there were a large number of similar claims waiting in the wings for the outcome of the test case. Although the company’s compensation was relatively modest, the issues of principle involved would have far-reaching consequences.