Arterial Drainage Act, 1945

Power of the Commissioners to compel repair of watercourses.

48.—(1) It shall be lawful for the Commissioners, by notice in writing served personally or by post on an occupier of land (whether such land is within an existing drainage district or a drainage district constituted under this Act or is not within any such district), to require such occupier, within such time (not being less than three months from the service of such notice) as shall be specified in such notice, to restore, open up, and generally put into proper repair and effective condition such watercourse or watercourses on the said lands as is or are specified in such notice and is or are not included in any existing drainage works or any drainage works constructed under this Act, but which discharges or discharge into an existing drainage district or a drainage district constituted under this Act and is or are, in the opinion of the Commissioners, incapable, by reason of neglect of or inadequate maintenance, of efficiently discharging the water passing into or through it or them from adjoining land.

(2) Whenever a notice under the foregoing sub-section of this section has been served on a person, the following provisions shall apply and have effect, that is to say:—

(a) such person (in this sub-section referred to as the objector) may, within one month after the service of such notice on him, send to the Commissioners an objection in writing to such notice;

(b) every such objection shall contain a full statement of the grounds on which the objection is based;

(c) the Commissioners shall consider every such objection duly sent to them in accordance with the foregoing paragraphs of this sub-section and shall do, in respect of each such objection, whichever of the following things shall appear to them to be proper having regard to all the circumstances of the case and in particular whether compliance with the notice to which such objection relates would or would not cause undue hardship or expense to the objector, that is to say:—

(i) withdraw the said notice unconditionally, or

(ii) if the objector is willing to give to the Commissioners a written undertaking (in a form approved of by the Commissioners) that he will at all reasonable times permit any occupier from whose land water passes into the watercourse or any of the watercourses specified in the said notice to enter upon the objector's land and there do, at such occupier's own expense, all such things as may be necessary for compliance with the said notice, withdraw the said notice upon such undertaking being duly given by the objector, or

(iii) disallow such objection;

(d) whenever the Commissioners disallow an objection, they shall amend the notice to which such objection relates by extending for such period as they think proper, the period specified in such notice for compliance therewith;

(e) the Commissioners shall as soon as may be inform the objector of their decision on his objection;

(f) whenever the Commissioners disallow an objection, the objector may, within fourteen days after being informed by the Commissioners of their decision on such objection, require in writing the Commissioners to refer his objection to an arbitrator appointed by the Reference Committee from the Panel of Drainage Arbitrators, and thereupon the Commissioners shall so refer such objection;

(g) the arbitrator to whom an objection is referred under the next preceding paragraph of this sub-section shall have the like powers in regard to such objection as are conferred by this sub-section on the Commissioners, and the decision of such arbitrator shall be final and conclusive.

(3) Where a notice has been served under this section on an occupier of land and has not been withdrawn by the Commissioners or by the arbitrator and such occupier has failed to comply with such notice, it shall be lawful for the Commissioners to enter on the said land and there do all such things as such occupier was required by such notice to do and, where the Commissioners have exercised that power, they shall be entitled to recover from such occupier in any court of competent jurisdiction as a simple contract debt such sum as the Commissioners shall certify to be the expense incurred by them in the exercise of the said power.

(4) Where a notice has been served under this section on an occupier of land and such notice has been complied with (whether by such occupier or by the Commissioners under the next preceding sub-section of this section) such occupier shall thereafter keep the watercourse or watercourses to which such notice related clean and open and maintain it or them in proper repair and efficient condition.

(5) If any person on whom a notice has been served under this section fails to comply with such notice or fails to keep and maintain any watercourse to which such notice related as he is required by this section to do, he shall be guilty of an offence under this section and shall be liable on summary conviction thereof to a fine not exceeding twenty-five pounds together with a further fine not exceeding one pound for every day during which the offence continues.

(6) Expenses recoverable under this section by the Commissioners from an occupier of land shall be so recoverable whether such occupier has or has not been prosecuted for such (if any) offence under this section as he may have committed.