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At Short Notice

Venn's Lightning Oough Cure.

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..--.. Riparian Rights and…


Riparian Rights and Sewage Pollution. From The Field, December 10th :-— Mr. Justice Parker gave judgment on De- cember 6th in the matter of Isgoed Jones v. Llanrwst Urban District Council." The Council had been pouring sewage into the River Conway, to the detriment of plaintiff. The sewage fouled the point where he watered his cattle, and the fishing was not improved bv the pollution, nor were odours pleasant from sewage deposit on a shoal which at low water stood out in the channel. The plaintiff asked for injunction, and got it. The de- fence raised, among other points, a denial that plaintiff was the owner of the bed of the stream, ad medium fihum, even though he owned land which abutted on the river. Thev contended that the stream was tidal at this point, and therefore Crown property, if any also that the soil, if it belonged to any, was vested in the owner of several fish- eries at that spot (to wit, Lord Ancaster). As to this claim to defile, where a riparian is not (or may not be) owner of the soil of the bed of the stream (and so cannot establish trespass as to the bed of the stream by defendants' deposit of alien matter in it), the ruling of Mr. Justice Parker is significant. He said I am of opinion that a riparian owner on the banks of a natural stream is, whether he is the owner of any part of the river bed or otherwise, entitled to the now of I the stream past his land in its natural state of purity or undeteriorated by noxious matter discharged into it by others. Any one who fouls this water infringes his rights of property, and therefore he can maintain an action without proving that he has been actually damaged." Also His Lordship laid down that anyone who deposits foul matter into a stream whence it can and docs drift on to a neighbour's land, commits trespass. There was much conflict of evidence in the case, the Council even denying that they caused any pollution at all. They also set up statutory absolution for their conduct, and denied general liability. His Lordsnip eventually ruled that, though a public body, and taking over the sewage system from predecessors in office, the Coun- cil stood, as to rights and wrongs in defile- ment, in the same position as one private individual would to another. He granted an injunction, but allowed it to stand over for eighteen months, in order to allow the Council reasonable time to re-arrange their sewage system. The judgment will be welcomed from an angler's point of view, also generally as re- gards the enunciation of riparian rights for uncontaminated flow past his domain also from a tourist aspect. There may be many readers who at one time or other have en- joyed the small steamer trip on the flood tide from Conway to Trefriw, for Llanrwst, and who would regret that the charm of the voyage should be marred by unsavoury de- posits in the upper reaches, where the estuary ends, and the fresh water, still tidallv affected and dammed by flood tide, begins to disclose itself as a black-blue volume distinct from the muddv brown of the lower tidal basin. This latter stage of the up-river voyage is about the most picturesque of all the little steamers often rounding points within what looks like hand-shake distance of haymakers in the adjoining water meadows. If the im- junction obtained bv Mr. Isgoed Jones shall have the effect of saving these reaches from defilement and desecration the public will be indebted to him.

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