Flooding

In the aftermath of the Disaster at Aberfan in 1966, the National Coal Board and the local Council were put under severe pressure to remove all coal tips from the vicinity of the village. This included two tips near the River Taff, close to some playing fields.

These tips were removed and spread over the fields in the early 1970’s raising the height of the fields by up to 20 feet.  Prior to this work the fields were frequently flooded when the Taff burst its banks.  After the removal of the tips, any water escaping the Taff was forced around the fields and through an adjacent housing estate.  These houses had not been prone to flooding until the tips were spread on the fields.

Particularly severe flooding occurred in 1979 and again in 1998, when substantial damage was caused to the houses and the residents were lucky to escape injury.  The total damage caused exceeded £1 million.

Local residents approached Hugh James to take action against the Coal Authority and the local council, to claim damages and seek assurances the flooding would not be repeated.

Leading and nationally recognised experts were involved proceedings were issued against both defendants.  The claim was funded in part by Public Funding (formerly Legal Aid) and in part by twelve different insurers who insured local residents.

Hugh James flooding experience

Hugh James has been acting on behalf of residents suffering from flooding for over fifteen years and has been involved in leading Court of Appeal cases.


Case studies

In the aftermath of the Disaster at Aberfan in 1966, the National Coal Board and the local Council were put under severe pressure to remove all coal tips from the vicinity of the village. This included two tips near the River Taff, close to some playing fields.

These tips were removed and spread over the fields in the early 1970’s raising the height of the fields by up to 20 feet.  Prior to this work the fields were frequently flooded when the Taff burst its banks.  After the removal of the tips, any water escaping the Taff was forced around the fields and through an adjacent housing estate.  These houses had not been prone to flooding until the tips were spread on the fields.

Particularly severe flooding occurred in 1979 and again in 1998, when substantial damage was caused to the houses and the residents were lucky to escape injury.  The total damage caused exceeded £1 million.

Local residents approached Hugh James to take action against the Coal Authority and the local council, to claim damages and seek assurances the flooding would not be repeated.

Leading and nationally recognised experts were involved proceedings were issued against both defendants.  The claim was funded in part by Public Funding (formerly Legal Aid) and in part by twelve different insurers who insured local residents.

The case ultimately proceeded to the Court of Appeal and is now the leading authority in this area of the law.
Aberfan flooding


10 residents in Gilwern, near Abergavenny had to be evacuated on 16th October 2007 as the Brecon & Monmouthshire Canal burst its banks sending water and mud rushing towards their homes.

In areas, flood water exceeded one metre and part of a farm house was washed away after being hit by a torrent of water and rocks. Fire-fighters and British Waterways have worked to secure the canal and prevent any further flooding.

British Waterways allege the canal was regularly inspected and the stretch of canal which burst was inspected fairly recently.
Gilwern flooding



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