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Ditches and watercourses

Ditches or watercourses are the responsibility of landowners (often called riparian owners).  Roadside ditches normally belong to the adjoining landowner and not the highway authority, except where land has been acquired for new road building.  The highway authority can discharge highway water to a roadside ditch and may maintain it but is under no obligation to do so.

Landowners may drain their land to any ditch or watercourse on the property.  They have a duty to maintain their ditches or watercourses in such a way that nuisance is not caused to neighbours. The County Council's Flood Risk Management Team and the Environment Agency will be able to provide further advice on land drainage issues.

More information on water course responsibilities and the County Council's role in regulating these systems can be found in our Flood Risk Management web pages.

  • Roadside hedges and trees are the responsibility of the adjacent land owner.
  • Roadside ditches are the responsibility of the adjacent land owner.
  • Verges are the responsibility of the Highway Authority.
  • Grips cut in verges are the responsibility of the Highway Authority, they are cut to assist with road drainage.

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