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Court ruling means home owners could sue over floods sewer


THAMES WATER will petition the House of Lords for the right to appeal against a ruling that could lead to thousands of claims against water companies from homeowners flooded by sewerage.

The Court of Appeal this week ruled that Peter Marcic was entitled to damages against Thames Water for nuisance and infringing Marcic's human rights.

Since 1992, Marcic's garden in west London has been flooded 17 times by sewage from Thames Water's sewer system.

Threatened by thousands of new claims, water companies will now come under pressure to alleviate sewer flooding nationwide, estimated to cost of £1bn.

In England and Wales, more than 26,000 properties are recorded as being at risk of internal flooding from sewers once every ten years.

The recent ICE presidential commission report on flood risk management, estimated the cost per property to solve the problem would be £50,000.

The ICE report claims that in the last spending review in 1999, water regulator OFWAT only allowed for £1M investment over five years to tackle the problem.

Spokesman for the water company trade association Water UK Barrie Clarke said: 'Dealing with these situations will be extremely expensive. It is inevitable that the consumer will pay.'

Eighteen thousand of the 26,000 properties recorded as being at risk from flooding from sewers are in the Thames Water area. In its 1999 review, it asked for funding to alleviate flooding risk to 3,000 properties. OFWAT sanctioned funding for 1,500.

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