Tuesday, 11 August 2015


Hull is a low-lying city, as are some of the towns and villages that surround it. I have blogged before about the serious flooding in the area in 2007, just before I started mapping in OSM. What a lot of people won't know, even locals, is that flooding is a regular occurrence in some parts of the area. This flooding is on a much smaller scale than happened in 2007, but it still causes misery for anyone whose house is flooded. The Cottingham Flood Action Group have tried to understand what causes this regular flooding and then campaign to fix the causes. I have helped a bit by providing maps and overlaying data from various sources. Some of these sources are not open so I don't want to publish them here.

One source of contention is riparian ownership. This can apply when a water course runs through your land and you may then be required to maintain it. For example a ditch carrying surface water away may need to be cleaned out so water can actually flow in the ditch and not back up causing a flood elsewhere.

The East Riding of Yorkshire council is strapped for cash. They are pushing people to maintain ditches and in some cases ditches in culverts to prevent flooding, claiming these people are riparian owners of the ditches. To be a riparian owner the watercourse must be wholly within the property or form the boundary of the property. If the watercourse forms a boundary, then the property owner owns the watercourse to the mid line.

I have matched the Land Registry Inspire dataset to my surveys of a few of these and it clearly shows that the ditch is many metres outside of the privately owned land and well within the area of the public highway. This means that no matter how strapped the council is for cash, they must maintain the ditch or culvert. Of course, my survey probably isn't enough to convince the council, but it certainly should prompt people to get more evidence.

Don't believe your council. If they claim you are responsible for something unusual, make them prove it and make sure you get enough facts to stand up to them. The council may be right, but they be just trying to get you to pay for something they are responsible for.