Understanding highway drainage charges

Highway drainage is water that drains from any roads and footpaths that flow into public drainage systems.

Highway drainage and surface water drainage are separate charges

It’s important to understand that you’re not paying for the same thing twice with these charges.

They are similar, but there is an important difference: 

Public roads are used in many ways. This can include transporting goods, products or services via the road, as well as personal journeys and commuting.

This means that any customers who use the roads directly or indirectly will benefit from highway drainage, and so we charge a contribution to this for all of our customers. 

All of our customers who are connected to our sewerage network pay the same amount for highway drainage, which helps make sure everybody is paying a fair amount.

Anyone who uses the road network, directly or indirectly, will benefit from highway drainage.

The charge covers any water that flows into our sewer system that we would treat at our treatment works. 

If you don’t think you’re connected to any public sewers, and so shouldn’t have to pay for highway drainage, please let us know and we can investigate this for you.

Some of you won’t be connected to a public sewer, for example you have a septic tank. This means you’re less dependent on the network and we wouldn’t charge you for highway drainage.

We’re only allowed to charge you for the services you receive from us, so let us know if you think you’re not connected to our sewer network. We’ll investigate and make sure you pay a fair amount depending on your connection status.

A soakaway is one way of draining surface water from a property. It’s a hole dug in the ground, filled with coarse stone and rubble. Surface water drains into this hole and filters through the stone, then soaks away into the surrounding land.

If you have a soakaway, you’ll often be able to reduce or remove your surface water drainage charge.

However, the highway drainage charge is separate to this and is not affected by your soakaway. Highway drainage is water that drains directly from public roads into our sewers.

If your property isn’t connected for surface water drainage, but is connected to our sewers, you’ll still benefit from highway drainage, which is why you pay this as part of your bill.

Responsibility for highway flooding

Your local council or highways agency will be able to help with any road or highway flooding, while we look after the sewerage pipes underneath the road.

The highway drainage charge helps to cover the cost of treating the water that flows into our sewers from the road. However, it’s your local council or highways agency who are responsible for maintaining the gullies that drain
water into our sewers.

A highway gully is the large pot in the ground covered by a metal grid usually found at the edge of a road