River maintenance law must be enforced

First published in Letters

Sir – With the recent flooding in Witney and across other areas of Oxfordshire, I thought that your readers may be interested to know that the flooding appears to be a result of non-enforcement of current legislation by local authorities, whereby rivers are silted up.

The Land Drainage Act 1991 requires that a watercourse be maintained by its owner in such a condition that the free flow of water is not impeded.

The riparian owner must accept the natural flow from upstream but need not carry out work to cater for increased flows resulting from some types of works carried out upstream, for example a new housing development.

The Environment Agency and district and county councils and local drainage boards have responsibilities to ensure that these works are carried out and funded to stop flooding.

Surely a special tax should be raised to ensure that money is made available to get these works done properly, to minimise the issues with flooding, the disruption and cost to the UK economy, not to mention the worry and stress that it causes.

Why does the Government also not underwrite insurance also to ensure properties are insured against flooding?

James Robertshaw, High Street, Witney

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