Overview

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.

Key contact

Stephanie is a Partner in the Hugh James Group Actions team specialising in environmental claims.

View team
Aberfan 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.

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

Gilwern 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.

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.

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.

Quotes

Gwen Evans specialises in acting for claimants in group actions relating to environmental pollution. She recently represented a community in a nuisance claim due to dust fallout from a steel plant. One market source said: ‘She gets through a lot of detail very quickly and is unflappable.’

Chambers and Partners UK

Quotes

I and 130 of my neighbours have had cause to engage ‘Hugh James’ to deal with a current problem that is ongoing at the moment and have found their professionalism and assistance in all matters so far to be of a very high standard. They seem to be tenacious, approachable and responsive to any concerns I have had throughout and for such a service I would not hesitate to recommend them to anyone whom may find that they have to embark on a similar path.

Anonymous client

Quotes

Hugh James recently successfully represented local residents in a difficult and major claim against a landfill operator. Throughout the case, we were extremely impressed by the way in which the case was presented and handled. The solicitor acting on our behalf fully explained our position, opportunities, and strategies, at all times displaying professionalism of the highest order. The pleasant, courteous and patient manner in which everything was fully and effectively explained contributed greatly to success in winning the difficult and complicated case.

Anonymous client

Quotes

I wanted to thank you and your team for the way in which you have handled the case. Right from the earliest meetings and the regular updates, things were laid out clearly and emotive issues handled with sensitivity. It’s also clear that you were successful in the negotiations delivering a result that would not have been possible without you. Thanks again for all your work.

Manchester Airport claimant.

Quotes

“.. What you have achieved for us is worth more than cash alone. We have been let down by the regulators time and again and Hugh James is the only organisation which has achieved anything for us long-suffering residents. I want to thank you for what you have achieved.”

Mr B – South Yorkshire

Quotes

So far, I have found Hugh James to be very open and honest in their dealings. They are very good at keeping us informed of what is happening, and they always ask before carrying out any actions on our behalf. Based on my experience so far, I would have no hesitation in recommending them to help in any action you are considering or pursuing.

Mr Paris

Quotes

I would just like to thank your company for the efficient way you have handled this matter / you have kept me regularly informed by the way of letters explaining all procedures and possible outcomes in relation to the investigation.

Mr Tarvin (Hampshire)

Quotes

I have to admit that I was very skeptical at first, as it did not seem possible that I would not be considerably out of pocket should we have lost the case at court. However you were able to put my mind at rest. With the success of the claim, I feel this has completely justified our efforts in complaining to the defendant and recording the times etc of the worst incidents. The smell really was nasty at times, which most importantly has now ceased.

Mr Tarvin (Hampshire)

Quotes

The reason I joined and contributed to this group claim, was to bring an improvement to my own, and neighbour's environmental living conditions. This has largely been met. Without your involvement, Cannock Council would not have felt it necessary to become involved and we would still be in the same position as we have been for the past forty years. For this, I thank you and Hugh James. Our whole community will reap the benefit of this for years to come.

Mr Woodman (Norton Aluminium Group Litigation)

Quotes

The “unstoppable” Neil Stockdale is head of the environment team at the firm. He maintains his position as a market leader on group actions for claimants affected by pollution and blight including odour or noise. Interviewees say he is ‘highly experienced,’ ‘very focused’ and ‘very approachable.’

Chambers and Partners UK

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