New law brings hope

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WETHERBY residents who have been blighted by sewerage problems have been given good news for the New Year.

Water customers in the town will no longer have to worry about being hit with surprise bills to repair blocked or damaged sewers, following changes in the law.

The changes, which applies across the country, were announced by Environment Minister Richard Benyon.

The new legislation means that private sewers that run under properties, gardens or in the road, become the responsibility of water and sewerage companies.

Now town councillor John Trower has praised the move, saying Wetherby residents had been blighted with high bills due to severe sewerage flooding in the past.

He said: “This is excellent news for Wetherby residents, some of whom I know near the Rivers Estate have had all sorts of problems over the years with flooded drains and sewers.”

One of these included resident Malcolm Crane, 75, of Ure Grove.

He said the government legislation could only be a good thing for people like him who have had to pay high bills for repairs.

He told the Wetherby News: “I got a letter recently about this and I am happy if it means that water companies will now take responsibility for the sewers underneath private property.”

“On this estate we have had awful problems with the sewers over the years.

“My garden has been littered with raw sewage on a number of occasions and myself and my neighbours have had to cover the costs between us.

“There are six of us that have paid around £2000 altogether.”

Mr Crane, who has lived at Ure Grove for more than 30 years, said the underground sewer beneath his property has led to five or six floods over the years, the most recent one being in 2009.

“It has been horrific. It takes a lot of time, effort and supervising to get it sorted each time.

“When it floods again, not if, I just hope we will not have to pay for it and the water company will take responsibility.”

Announcing the legislation, Environment Minister Richard Benyon said: “We have removed a financial hurdle that far too often people have had to clear and repair sewers that sometimes were not even on their property.

“This transfer will bring about a fairer approach and will also ensure a better maintained, less polluting, and more efficient sewerage system for the future.”