Q&As

A conservatory has been built within 3 metres of a public sewer without the consent of the water undertaker. What are the possible sanctions for doing this?

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Produced in partnership with Sarah Fitzpatrick of Norton Rose Fulbright
Published on LexisPSL on 24/08/2020

The following Planning Q&A Produced in partnership with Sarah Fitzpatrick of Norton Rose Fulbright provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • A conservatory has been built within 3 metres of a public sewer without the consent of the water undertaker. What are the possible sanctions for doing this?

When the conservatory was constructed is an important consideration. Private sewers and lateral drains that were connected to the public sewer before 1 July 2011 were transferred on 1 October 2011 to sewerage undertakers. It is common to find conservatories and other extensions constructed less than 3 metres from a public sewer that was not a public sewer at the time the conservatory/extension was constructed, but was instead a private sewer the responsibility of the homeowner.

If the conservatory was constructed prior to 1 July 2011, then it will have required express planning permission or permitted development rights, and it may have required building regulations approval.

It would not have required a build over agreement from the sewerage undertaker if the sewer was private.

Under Part H4 of Schedule 1 to the Building Regulations 2010, SI 2010/2214, the consent of the sewerage undertaker is required for building works over a public sewer. This includes both foul and surface water sewers. Where a public sewer runs under land, the homeowner cannot build on or within three meters of the centre line of the sewer without the consent of the sewerage undertaker. This consent is the ‘build over agreement’. Consent is required before works commence and can be refused.

The reason for this restriction is to:

  1. avoid damaging the sewer

  2. not obstruct reasonable access to any manhole/inspection chamber

  3. ensure that,

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