Flooding: are farmers in line for compensation? article banner image

Many farmers have suffered significant losses through the terrible spate of flooding incidents that have afflicted the UK in recent years.

But a recent High Court decision could mean that, where farmers’ land has been flooded due to local council action to divert waters away from residential areas, they could be in line for compensation.

The case in question revolved around a farmer in Yorkshire, Robert Lindley, whose carrot crop suffered additional damage when the local council diverted floodwater into his fields during a flooding incident at the end of 2012.

The High Court awarded Mr Lindley £14,500 in compensation. No small sum when times are tight.

The council had argued that most of the pumping of the waters was carried out by the Fire Service and the Environment Agency, thereby denying responsibility for the damage to Mr Lindley’s crops.

But the Court ruled that the council was acting as lead local flood authority and that compensation was payable under the Land Drainage Act 1991.

The case was viewed as a test case – and could now open the way for many other claims from farmers around the country.

Clearly, if any farmer believes that their crops, land or property suffered damage due to the actions of the local council or other agency, then they should obtain legal advice about whether to make a claim (if they have not already done so).

If successful, compensation will not come overnight – Mr Lindley’s case took over three years to reach its conclusion – but any payment when it comes is sure to be a boost for farmers operating in today’s challenging climate.


Chris Tofts is a partner within the commercial property team in Truro with a wide range and depth of planning experience. If you would like to contact Chris, then please call 01872 265100 or email planning@stephens-scown.co.uk.