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Our water expertise

Clarke Willmott has an extensive range of experience across the water sector, as well as a detailed understanding of the industry, key legislation and the regulatory requirements.

Our multi-disciplinary team act for water companies on a wide variety of commercial matters. The team comprises solicitors with a range of specialisms including property litigation, transactional property, construction, planning, green energy/renewables, procurement, telecoms, health & safety, banking & finance, employment, information & communications technology, commercial contracts, commercial litigation and charities law.

Our clients include Thames Water, Bristol Water, South West Water and many other major water companies.

How we can help you

Commercial property/property litigation expertise

  • Management of property portfolios including dealing with deeds of grant, easements, leases to and from third parties and transfers of land in connection with s.104 Agreements
  • Drafting and negotiating complex suites of development, operating, maintenance and related contracts
  • Injunctions for water mains build-overs
  • Advice on easements, agricultural aspects, prescription, encroachments, adverse possession, and damages
  • Telecoms advice including removal, renewal and installation of new masts and cabling
  • Advice regarding supply contract charges reviews

Planning, environmental, and agricultural expertise

  • Planning disputes and advice on compulsory purchase
  • Advice on mains bursts, liability for flooding etc.
  • Tree Preservation Order advice and defence of prosecutions
  • Agricultural and environmental water schemes advice

Construction and infrastructure expertise

  • Advice in relation to practical/commercial issues throughout the ‘live’ period of a construction project, from beginning to end
  • Infrastructure charges, disputes under contracts with developers
  • Renewable energy project advice and expertise

Corporate, debt recovery and employment expertise

Regulatory/statutory expertise

  • Advice on regulatory regime including Water Industry Act 1991
  • Advising and assisting on street works investigations and prosecutions under the New Road and Street Works Act 1991
  • OFWAT Interest Determination disputes with reference to Water Industry Act 1991
  • Advice on Market Abuse Regulations
  • Advice on resilience schemes
  • Regulatory requirements and investigations

Examples of our recent work

Bristol Water plc.

We have acted across a wide range of industry-related work for Bristol Water plc over the last 15 years.

South West Water

We are acting in a wide range of transactions and advice pertaining to its property portfolio, to include dealing with the sale of sites (sometimes by auction), putting in place overage provisions, granting leases, transfer of drainage and water infrastructure apparatus as well as advice on prescriptive rights at harbour moorings, encroachments and the award-winning Upstream Thinking catchment management scheme.

Thames Valley Water

We have acted for Thames Water since 2010. Our initial instructions related to the recovery of commercial water rates. We are now instructed on the recovery of various other debts. We also acted for another regional water supply company assisting with a project to recover residential water charges arrears.

Tribunal Application for major water company

Acting for a major water company in dealing with a Code operators’ application to the Tribunal for interim and permanent rights to site a new telecoms mast over land abutting a reservoir. Within 14 days of being instructed and without the need to attend any hearings, we negotiated via round table meetings a sensible commercial settlement.

Property portfolio work

Acting for a major water company in dealing with its property portfolio including negotiating and completing deeds of grant, easements and transfers of land in connection with s.104 Agreements and advising in relation to telecoms mast issues.

Acting for major water companies where they have been prosecuted

Acting for two major water companies in cases where they have been prosecuted under the New Road and Street Works Act 1991 for works which they (or, more usually, their contractors) have carried out on public roads which have fallen short of the guidelines for carrying out these works. The fines for these prosecutions can potentially be very high and we have been successful for both clients in identifying the charges for which defences are available, negotiating with the prosecution to reduce the number of charges, and limiting the fines ultimately imposed. One such case resulted in a judgment which is one of the most definitive rulings on the Court’s approach to sentencing these offences.

Bespoke contracts work

Acting for a water company on bespoke, FIDIC-based contracts for the construction of a coastal sewage treatment plant, a deep gravity sewer and network connections with marine outfalls.

What our clients say about us

“Good integration between teams (e.g. DR and insolvency, property etc). Have achieved for us the same outcomes as expensive City firms but at a fraction of the cost.” The Legal 500 2021

“Advising on a range of contentious and non-contentious environmental work, Clarke Willmott LLP acts for clients ranging from listed companies to individual landowners. The firm has particular experience in the agriculture and waste sectors, as well as in defending environmental prosecutions and other enforcement actions.” The Legal 500 2021

“All of the team are an asset to the firm. I have worked with a few over the years and each has the same professional, committed approach to the work and not once do they seem phased by the amount of work we put their way. We consider them to be a valuable resource.” The Legal 500 2021

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