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Canal Leakage – Land damage & flooding

Canal leakage is an increasing problem in the UK. Water from the canal network permeates the land and changes its consistency and mineral levels. Agricultural land then becomes unfit for purpose. It can also become inaccessible to both livestock and farming equipment.

Canal & River Trust

The obvious benefits of our canal network are not disputed here. WTW Solicitors handle cases that relate to ongoing maintenance issues and the long term damage it causes. Individual complainants are often frustrated by how the Trust has handled their complaint.


If concerns are raised with the Canal & River Trust and no action is taken then a complaint can be sent to the Waterways Ombudsman.


Canal & River Trust FAQ document from 2012:

‘Why don’t you fix all the leaks on the network?
We consider leakage as one factor in our asset inspection procedures, which help us to prioritise future works. The canal network is a 200 year old system, and the quality/integrity of the lining to prevent leaks varies across the network.

In some locations, it has been cost effective to address the leakage by relining whole lengths of canal, in others it may be specific structures (such as locks or culverts) that have high loss rates.

Sometimes, it is more cost effective to develop additional water resources (identify alternative sources of water) rather than tackle the most expensive leaks, especially when you consider that relining one kilometre of canal can cost £1 million.’

Why litigate?

Frustrated land owners tend to contact Michael Bower and his team when they feel that they have no other choice.

In most cases maintenance has not been carried out despite the leaks being reported. When works have been carried out they do not always resolve the problems and the land does not necessarily recover.

The Canal & River Trust tend to fight these cases to try and avoid or minimise the amount of compensation paid. Please be aware that as a result of this the litigation process can be long and expensive. We will always be open and honest about the potential costs involved and whether it is worth pursuing your case.

Contact us

Michael and his team are always happy to see if they can help. For a FREE initial consultation call WTW Solicitors on 01535 662644.