Barratt Homes Ltd v Dwr Cymru Cyfyngedig (Welsh Water): SC 9 Dec 2009

The developers wanted to construct their private sewer to the public sewer at a point convenient to them. The water company said a connection at the point proposed would overload the sewer, and refused. The developer claimed that it had the right to make the connection at that point.
Held: The authority’s appeal failed. The words were clear, and contrasted strongly with similar legislation in Scotland. There had been little practical difficulty caused by the arrangement such as might justify any departure from the normal and natural meaning of the words. Section 106 of the 1991 Act did give a property developer a right to connect its private sewer to the public sewer at a point of its choosing even though such a connection would overload the capacity of the sewer as it currently existed. (Lady Hale dissenting)
Lord Phillips, President, Lord Saville, Lord Walker, Lady Hale, Lord Clarke
[2009] UKSC 13, [2009] WLR (D) 360
Bailii, WLRD
Water Industry Act 1991, Directive 91/271/EEC concerning the collection, treatment and discharge of urban waste water, Urban Waste Water Treatment (England and Wales) Regulations 1994 (SI 1994/2841)
England and Wales
At First InstanceBarratt Homes Ltd v Dwr Cymru Cyfyngedig (Welsh Water) QBD 1-Aug-2008
The parties disputed whether the water company had the right to refuse a connection with the public sewer at a point chosen by the developer.
Held: It would be objectionable to construe the statute in such a way as to preclude an undertaker . .
Appeal fromBarratt Homes Ltd v Dwr Cymru Cyfyngedig (Welsh Water) CA 28-Nov-2008
The water company sought to refuse to allow the developer to connect to the public sewer at a point where, it said, the system would overflow.
Held: The developer’s appeal succeeded. The statute provided only narrow grounds for refusing a . .
CitedBeech Properties v GE Wallis and Sons Ltd 1977
The court was asked whether a vendor of property had satisfied an obligation to provide the purchaser with the right to run foul and surface water from the land sold to a public sewer. The vendor contended that this obligation was satisfied by the . .
CitedAinley v Kirkheaton Local Board 1891
The exercise of the right of an owner of property to discharge into a public sewer conferred by section 21 of the 1875 Act could not be prevented by the local authority on the ground that the discharge was creating a nuisance. It was for the local . .
CitedBrown v Dunstable Corporation 1899
Cozens-Hardy J considered the right of a land-owner to make connection to the public sewer, and said the right under section 21 is an ‘absolute right’, adding that: ‘This absolute right is no doubt subject to any regulations in respect of the mode . .
CitedMarcic v Thames Water Utilities Limited HL 4-Dec-2003
The claimant’s house was regularly flooded by waters including also foul sewage from the respondent’s neighbouring premises. He sought damages and an injunction. The defendants sought to restrict the claimant to his statutory rights.
Held: The . .
CitedSmeaton v Ilford Corporation ChD 1954
Overloading caused the corporation’s foul sewer to erupt through a manhole and discharge ‘deleterious and malodorous matter’ into Mr Smeaton’s garden.
Held: The authority were not liable. e connections with the sewer and to discharge their . .
CitedMcMonagle v Westminster City Council HL 1989
The House treated words as surplusage in a statute which contained criminal sanctions in order to avoid the substantial frustration of the object of the Act. Words in an Act are not to be rendered ‘insensible, absurd or ineffective to achieve its . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 21 February 2021; Ref: scu.383786