Allen v Gulf Oil Refining Ltd: HL 29 Jan 1980

An express statutory authority to construct an oil refinery carried with it the authority to refine. It was impossible to construct and operate the refinery upon the site without creating a nuisance. Lord Wilberforce said: ‘It is now well settled that where Parliament by express direction or by necessary implication has authorised the construction and use of an undertaking or works, that carries with it an authority to do what is authorized with immunity from any action based on nuisance. The right of action is taken away
To this there is made the qualification, or condition, that the statutory powers are exercised without ‘negligence’- that word here being used in a special sense so as to require the undertaker, as a condition of obtaining immunity from action, to carry out the work and conduct the operation with all reasonable regard and care for the interests of other persons.’
Lord Edmund-Davies: When a defendant prayed in aid a necessary implication of a power, it was for him to establish that any proved nuisance was wholly unavoidable, irrespective of the expense necessarily involved in its avoidance. The absence of compensation clauses is an important indication that the statute on which reliance is placed was not intended to authorise interference with private rights, but is not determinative.
Lord Wilberforce, Lord Edmund-Davies
[1981] AC 1001, [1980] UKHL 9, [1981] 1 All ER 353, [1981] 2 WLR 188
England and Wales
CitedRylands v Fletcher HL 1868
The defendant had constructed a reservoir to supply water to his mill. Water escaped into nearby disused mineshafts, and in turn flooded the plaintiff’s mine. The defendant appealed a finding that he was liable in damages.
Held: The defendant . .
Appeal fromAllen v Gulf Oil Refining Ltd CA 1980
The exercise of the permission to develop granted by the local planning authority may have the result that the character of the neighbourhood changes and that which would previously have been a nuisance must be held no longer to be so
Cited by:
CitedDennis and Dennis v Ministry of Defence QBD 16-Apr-2003
The applicants owned a substantial property near an airbase. They complained that changes in the patterns of flying by the respondents were a nuisance and sought damages. Walcot Hall was subjected to very high noise levels from military aircraft. . .
CitedTransco plc v Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council HL 19-Nov-2003
Rylands does not apply to Statutory Works
The claimant laid a large gas main through an embankment. A large water supply pipe nearby broke, and very substantial volumes of water escaped, causing the embankment to slip, and the gas main to fracture.
Held: The rule in Rylands v Fletcher . .
CitedFeakins and Another v Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Civ 1513) CA 9-Dec-2005
The department complained that the defendants had entered into a transaction with their farm at an undervalue so as to defeat its claim for recovery of sums due. The transaction used the grant of a tenancy by the first chargee.
Held: The . .
CitedThe Manchester Ship Canal Company Ltd and Another v United Utilities Water Plc SC 2-Jul-2014
The court was asked: ‘whether a sewerage undertaker under the Water Industry Act 1991 has a statutory right to discharge surface water and treated effluent into private watercourses such as the Respondents’ canals without the consent of their . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 09 January 2021; Ref: scu.182123