Ditches and drains need to be maintained to reduce the risk of flooding and to maintain the condition of highways by keeping them clear of excess water. Poor drainage damages roads and creates hazards for road users and local residents. Good drainage will reduce maintenance and costs for all.
The owner of land or property that adjoins a watercourse, such as a roadside ditch, is known as the riparian owner. Although the Highways Authority is responsible for the highway, it does not own the ‘sub-soil’ of the highway. The owner of the land or property adjoining the highway is normally the sole riparian owner.
Who is responsible for ditch and drainage maintenance? The document here explains ownership responsibilities.