Rail company ordered to clean up its ditches

Posted by admin on January 23, 2020

Rail company ordered to clean up its ditches

January 23, 2020 at 12:11 PM

Network Rail has been ordered to clean up its ditches after the Agricultural Land Tribunal ruled in favour of a farmer whose land adjoining railway land was compromised by poorly maintained ditches.

The farmer has been in dispute with Network Rail over their ditches for over six years and the Agricultural Land Tribunal decided that an Order should be made for NR to clean all their ditches adjoining the farmer’s land as had been initially requested several years ago.

The farmer is a client of Shropshire chartered surveyor Philip Meade who said: “It is a good, common sense approach that re-balances the power between Network Rail and farmers who adjoin railway land who are entitled to have the ditches, which drain their land but to which they cannot get access to, maintained.

“It is an important decision because it hopefully means that Network Rail will be more pragmatic in their dealings with other farmers similarly affected in future

“This is a serious issue because flooded land is more than just about damage to the crops and soils within the field because it can cause a breach of cross compliance and jeopardise future support payments.”

Philip said that in this particular case part of the downfall for Network Rail was that it had promised three years previously to do the work on the ditches but in fact had failed to do so.

The railway company had largely ignored the problem because the tracks themselves were not affected, but under the Land Drainage Act, any land owner is entitled to apply for such an order if their neighbour (whoever that may be) is not maintaining their ditches properly.

Although a tribunal rarely awards costs, in this case it did and agreement has since been reached over a contribution to the farmer’s costs.

Philip is advising farmers with similar problems to contact him or seek advice from their land agent.

“Network Rail will have to be more wary in future about maintaining their ditches and farmers with land alongside the rail network may need to remind them of their obligations,” he added.

For more information or advice contact Philip Meade at the Oswestry office of DMPC on 01691 676144 email Philipmeade@dmpcuk.com

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